A SCOTS MP has labelled the case against the Catalan political prisoners a “show trial” perpetrated by the Spanish state and a violation of international democratic norms.

Gavin Newlands, a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Catalonia, has called for a parliamentary debate on the importance of an independent judiciary and the democratic principle of self-determination as pillars of the international democratic order.

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The MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North hopes the debate will encourage the UK Government to speak out against violations of these norms closer to home, including in Spain.

Newlands said: “It is beyond time that the UK Government spoke out against the outrageous violations against international democratic and judicial norms that have been perpetrated by the Spanish state against the Catalan political prisoners. I hope that a Parliamentary debate on this issue will help it gain even more international attention and that it will put pressure on the UK Government to act.

The National:

“The UK and Spain have deep links and both country’s governments at least claim to be champions of the independent judiciary and democracy – two things that are vital for the success of any 21st century society.

“The UK Government can no longer ignore such blatant violations of these principles so close to home.”

His intervention came as campaigning started yesterday in the Spanish General Election, which will be held on April 28.

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Five of the political prisoners – former vice-president Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Turull, Josep Rull, Jordi Sànchez and Raül Romeva – who are candidates in the election, will be unable to take part in any election campaign activities.

Junqueras had lodged a petition to allow political rallies to be held inside Soto del Real, the Madrid prison where they are being held during the trial.

However, Spain’s home affairs ministry dismissed his petition, citing security concerns, to avoid interfering with the trial and to preserve the “neutrality” of public institutions.

Sànchez, Turull and Rull yesterday called on the court to allow them to take part in campaigning to enjoy what their lawyer Jorge Pina called the same respect as the other candidates. He said: “Let my constituents, as candidates for the General Elections ... be allowed to participate in the pre-electoral campaign.”

Pina’s request, not surprisingly, was refused.

Meanwhile, protesters are preparing for a “rally for the republic” tomorrow in Madrid. Thousands of people are expected to take part, with “one clear and forceful message: freedom for the political prisoners”.