1- Justice and Peace of Catalonia expresses its deep concern about the judicial processes, imprisonments and detention orders that currently affect dozens of Catalan political leaders and the political situation that this produces in our country. As some of our bishops have already expressed, these facts cause great tension and discomfort in our society and hinder fraternal coexistence.

2- These judicial decisions constitute a serious violation of fundamental rights, generating terrible damage to those affected and their families. Thus, numerous national and international human rights organizations and NGOs have expressed themselves (United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Federation of Christians against Torture, Catalan Ombudsman …) as well as jurists of recognized prestige.

3- The conducts for which these persons are being accused, even if considered illegal in accordance with Spanish law, cannot in any case be considered criminal behaviors in a democracy. Even less [those conducts] can be the reason for imprisonment without a trial. These are behaviors that were developed under the impulse of the absolute majority of a democratic Parliament in accordance with electoral programs presented and with the support of a very remarkable proportion of the population. Conducts can be fought politically, even legally, but never with imprisonment.

4- On the other hand, these imprisonments, by affecting elected positions and candidates for presiding over the Generalitat, judicially block their possible investiture and also constitute a very serious violation of the right to political participation of those affected and their voters. At the same time, they are an illegitimate interference in the functioning of the Parliament and the self-government institutions of Catalonia.

5- Likewise, it is clear that the facts object of the criminal process cannot be described in any way as violent. Both prosecuted political leaders and entities as well as citizens that have mobilized themselves in favor of the so-called “procés” [Catalan independence movement] have always been very careful in expressing their will and maintaining their peaceful and non-violent nature.

6- We are surprised to find a clearly biased and authoritative interpretation of criminal law, which attacks head-on the rule of law. It is a true abuse of power for political purposes, unacceptable in a democracy, with unprecedented cruelty and institutional scorn to the dignity of the people we have already believed happily surpassed in Spain.

7- The lack of channeling and consideration of social demands persistently reiterated for years, the strategy of judicialization, the perception of arbitrary imprisonment, the responsibly authoritarian response of the State and the maintenance of a state of anguish and increasing impotence in much of the population can lead to an escalation of tension that hurts everyone and makes it difficult to resolve the conflict.

8- Therefore, we appeal to the political institutions of the Spanish State and to the European and international bodies for the protection of human rights to urgently correct this totally intolerable situation. Spanish public opinion should be seriously questioned.

9- Finally, we reiterate once again, and we will do it as often as necessary, together with what the bishops of Catalonia and many other groups and groups have expressed, that we are faced with a conflict of a political nature that will not be resolved neither with the coercive application of law nor the criminal repression, which only aggravate it. It can only be solved through a process of dialogue and negotiation without preconditions, leading to a just and democratic political solution, acceptable to all. We ask all the political leaders of Catalonia and Spain to introduce the confidence measures that make them possible and to strive to start the necessary dialogue, which can no longer be postponed.

March 23th 2018