A CATALAN teacher of English has called for the international community to facilitate dialogue on equal terms with the Spanish state to try to resolve the political crisis surrounding October’s independence referendum.

In a letter to The National, the woman – who we are calling Emma – said the lack of democracy witnessed in Catalonia “should be unacceptable in the European Union”, or any democracy.

She said more than 1100 people had been taken to court for supporting the indyref, and asked: “The point is are we, the Catalans, entitled to [the same] basic human rights as everybody else?

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“Does the right to self-determination apply to our case, based on our history, our past, our institutions and our democratic way?”

Emma referred to an attack earlier this week on photojournalist Jordi Borràs by an off-duty officer of Spain’s National Police.

“This is one more of many of these attacks in relation to the Catalan right to self-determination,” she said.

“We call for dialogue with the Spanish state on equal and even terms. Clearly, our right to self-determination is inalienable.

“We call on the international community to influence and facilitate a dialogue that we are insistently seeking. We will facilitate a solution if we are given the possibility of doing so.”

Contrary to what some Spanish judges have said, Emma contends that organising a referendum is not illegal in Spain: “The law 2/2005 specifically decriminalises the call for referendums.

“The Catalan Parliament passed a law for the self-determination referendum on September 6, 2017.

“The Spanish Constitutional Court recognised on November 29 that the procedure was legal and correct.”

She said the pro-independence camp won on October 1, despite the well-documented violence inflicted on would-be voters by Spanish Civil Guard officers, thousands of whom were deployed to Barcelona.

Spain imposed direct rule under Article 155 of the constitution on October 27 and called new elections on December 21.

Emma said: “Despite having everything against them, the pro-indy groups won again… The answer for this, from the Spanish Government, was not respecting the results and blocking the investiture of Puigdemont, Sánchez and Turull.

“Since then, prison and exile for our representatives.”

She added: “This is a general cause with no precedents in democratic countries. At this moment, there are 712 town mayors prosecuted, 180 citizens prosecuted...

“Political prisoners must be released as soon as possible, and exiled representatives should be free to come back to Catalonia.”