Spain has no excuse for Franco-style repression of Catalonia – Angus Robertson

Spain’s standing in the world has taken a major knock with the jailing of elected Catalan leaders, writes Angus Robertson.

Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 6:00 am
The arrests sparked protests in Catalan capital Barcelona. Picture: AP

Normal western countries don’t lock up democratic opponents. That’s what happens in banana republics. Normal countries don’t send in the riot police to assault ordinary voters wanting to exercise their right to choose their own future. That is exactly what Spain has done in Catalonia.

Yesterday the Spanish supreme court sentenced nine Catalan leaders to hefty prison terms up to 13 years for organising an independence referendum.

Unlike the UK where former Prime Minister David Cameron recognised the Scottish mandate for an independence referendum, there has been no democratic understanding in Madrid for the right of Catalans to choose their own future.

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The right of self-determination is universal and applies throughout the world. We all have the right to choose our own futures.

Spain is an important country and is a leading member of the European Union, Nato and other international organisations.

How much longer can partner nations turn a blind eye to Spain’s heavy handed anti-democratic crackdown on Catalonia?

Decades have passed since end of the fascist Franco regime, which repressed the Catalans, Basques and other minorities in Spain. There is no excuse for that to continue in the 21st century.