CATALAN vice president Pere Aragones – also leader of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) – has said he hopes Europe will break its silence on the fate of nine political prisoners, some of whom have been held for a year without trial.

However, in an exclusive interview with The National in Glasgow, he said Catalonia may have to wait until they are tried and sentenced before taking it to the European Court of Human Rights.

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Aragones was speaking as the Greens’ leader in the European Parliament, Ska Keller, called on Spain’s public prosecutor to drop rebellion charges against Catalan leaders for organising last October’s independence referendum.

A court in Barcelona yesterday also stopped investigations into charges of rebellion and sedition against up to 40 accused, including former members of the Catalan government, the Generalitat.

Keller said: “There is no real case for it.

“We’ve already seen courts in Belgium and in Germany saying that there is no cause to assume that there was rebellion or sedition.”

Aragones told The National: “Like we’ve always said, the accusations of rebellion and sedition were ill-founded, as voting is not a crime.

“The Spanish state has constructed a fake discourse in order to try to stop the rise of the pro-independence movement, and with this our colleagues have been in jail awaiting for trial for almost a year now.”