CATALONIA’s pro-independence political prisoners are “more determined then ever” according to a French MEP who yesterday visited them in jail.

José Bové, a union activist, was part of a delegation of MEPs who went to Lledoners jail near Barcelona to visit those who have been incarcerated for more than a year without trial.

They also visited prisoners where others are being held.

Speaking after their visit to Lledoners, the group announced that they would ask to be allowed to act as international observers for the trials of 18 pro-independence figures for their part in the October 2017 referendum and declaration of independence.

Bové said: “[Oriol] Junqueras and Raul Romeva and the other political prisoners that I visited today are more determined than ever.

“Their fight for democracy is my fight, our fight for freedom.”

The group will lodge an official

petition through the EU-Catalonia

Dialogue Platform, whose MEPs are trying to persuade the EU to intervene in the conflict between Catalonia and Spain.

Bové said the trial “has no guarantees” and the conditions expected to be encountered during the litigation “are a real problem of democracy”.

He called for the prisoners’ immediate pending their trial.

Meanwhile, seven of those jailed at Lledoners, have responded to allegations that they are being granted privileges while in jail.

They wrote to Inés Arrimadas, leader of the Citizens Party in Catalonia and People’s Party (PP) head Xavier García Albiol, urging them to visit the jail to speak to them and other inmates to find out if they were receiving favourable treatment.

“For the statements we have heard from you through the media, it is clear that you can only speak from ignorance,” they wrote.

“For this reason, and to the extent that you have the institutional capacity to visit a prison, if you wish.

“We would like you to visit Lledoners where you can check first-hand if we are prisoners with privileges, whether it be talking among ourselves, or talking with other interneess in the centre with whom we live together daily.”

However, the two unionist parties rejected the invitation.

“I will not go to any prison to visit the imprisoned independentistas, lending to their media circus and frivolising with their own situation,” said García Albiol.

“And I say media because they have sent the letter to the media before anyone else.”

Albert Rivera, Citizens’ president, told journalists yesterday they would not meet with “those who have tried to liquidate Spain.”

He said: “It would be good for the government to tell us if they have favourable treatment or not.”

The grassroots Catalan National Assembly (ANC) has called for European and world intervention to solve the political crisis.

In a statement, the ANC said Catalan people would not “accept this humiliation and subjection to a demophobic state”.