Barcelona, Madrid Bar Associations: Catalan political prisoners should be moved to Catalonia

The presidents of both associations claim that a transfer would afford the Catalan leaders a better chance to defend themselves

The presidents of the Barcelona and Madrid Bar Associations, Maria Eugènia Gay Rosell and José María Alonso Puig, have argued that the Catalan political prisoners held in pre-trial custody in Madrid jails should be transferred to Catalonia. The move would enhance their legal defence, which is currently being jeopardised. Both presidents spoke after a meeting held in the headquarters of the Madrid Bar Association, whose president stated that moving the prisoners closer to Catalonia “would be positive” because being in prison “is one of the worst situations” anyone can be in.

Maria Eugènia Gay, the president of the Barcelona Bar Association, added that bringing the prisoners closer to Barcelona —where their legal team is based— would uphold a basic right enshrined in the Spanish Constitution. Ms Gay mentioned that she is “hopeful about the new scenario” brought about by the new Catalan government with president Quim Torra at the helm.

In a joint statement, both institutions declared that “in the current situation, where so many civic and institutional efforts are needed in order to de-escalate, legal practitioners can contribute their strength —and not merely in numbers— to find common ground and mediate so that a way out of a conflict situation can be found”.

The document emphasises that lawyers remain committed to “upholding the democratic values and principles that underpin the rule of law” because they are “a key component of social harmony and peaceful coexistence”.

Additionally, the president of the Madrid Bar Association voiced his disposition to meet Dolores Delgado, Spain’s new Justice Minister, together with Maria Eugènia Gay in order to discuss urgent matters such as the Right to Legal Counsel Act and Legal Aid services.

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