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Catalan’s separatist leaders on hunger strike appeal to EU for help

Four imprisoned Catalan leaders who are currently on a hunger strike have sent letters to over 40 European heads of state, calling for their case be heard by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). 

The four leaders, Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Turull, Josep Rull and Joaquim Forn, alongside 14 other separatist activists face accusations of engaging in rebellion, sedition, disobedience, and the misuse of public funds. 

In their appeal, they note that they have been imprisoned for over a year for having staged a peaceful referendum last year and are yet to face trial. The hunger strikers also pointed out that the Spanish Constitutional Court has been blocking their appeals so as to prevent their case from being heard by the ECHR. 

A referendum held last year in Catalan yielded 90 % support for independence, after which Catalan leaders declared independence, prompting Madrid to take control and chargethe imprisoned the leaders. 

The Spanish Supreme Court began proceedings on Tuesday by debating whether it held the proper judicial rights to try this case. The defence for the Catalan leaders maintained it did not and insisted that they should be tried by the High Court of Catalonia. 

There has not been a date set for the trial, but it is understood likely to commence in January. 

In their appeal the hungerstrikers pointed out that the Constitutional Court normally rules on cases within 30 days but their case had taken over a year.