Catalan crisis prompts calls for EU sanctions against Spain

Alasdair Clark

A candidate in the SNP deputy leadership race has said the European Commission should enact sanctions against Spain

A ST ANDREWS UNIVERSITY ACADEMIC and former Catalan minister will hand herself into Police Scotland today after Spanish judges issued a European Arrest Warrant, prompting fresh concern for democracy in the region and calls for EU sanctions on Spain. 

A former education minister in the Catalan Government, the St Andrews academic Clara Ponsati will be arrested pending extradition to Spain where she would face charges of sedition, rebellion and other crimes relating to her role campaigning for Catalonian independence from Spain.
Around 25 Catalonian independence supporters have been charged, including the country’s former leader Carles Puigdemont who will appear in a German court later today (Monday 26). 

READ MORE: Catalan Parliament races to debate potential president before his possible arrest

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the Scottish Government has “no power” to stop the arrest, but maintained that the Scottish Government’s views of the country’s rights to self-determination remained unchanged. 

Speaking to CommonSpace, Chris McEleny, a candidate for the SNP deputy leadership said Scotland should “not be afraid of our future relationship with the EU,” adding: “We must let the Spanish Government know we will not allow political prisoners on our watch.”

McEleny said: “It’s the policy of the European Union to intervene when necessary to prevent conflict or to respond to emerging or actual crises. What we have in Catalonia and Spain is clearly a democratic crisis.

“A fundamental and overarching objective of the EU is to defend democratic principles and human rights.

“To defend democracy it is time for the European Commission to enact  sanctions against Spain.” Chris McEleny, SNP deputy leadership candidate

“Locking up elected leaders for promoting democracy is a clear violation of the founding principles of the EU.”

The councillor, running to replace the party’s former leader Angus Robertson against frontrunner Keith Brown MSP and party-worker Julie Hepburn, also said the European Commission should consider sanctions against Spain: “To defend democracy, and to ensure the people of Catalonia have their internationally recognised right to self-determination, it is time for the European Commission to enact sanctions against Spain.”

Clara Ponsati will be represented by top human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar, who has indicated that they will seek to overturn the arrest warrant of human rights grounds, arguing that the arrest amounts to political persecution.  

Picture courtesy of byronv2 and Generalitat de Catalunya

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