A CROSS-PARTY group of more than 50 French MPs have demanded the end of “arbitrary measures” against the jailed and exiled Catalan independence leaders.

In a joint manifesto, the 52 members of the French parliament’s lower house criticised what they described as an attack on fundamental freedoms and democracy.

“We want to express our concern and disapproval of what seems to be a violation of fundamental freedoms and the exercise of democracy,” they said. “Respect for institutional norms is something, but we believe that political debate cannot be decided by repression, for attacks on people’s rights.

“Like many voices in Spain and elsewhere, we ask for the end of the tensions and arbitrary measures.”

Meanwhile, cybersecurity expert Bruno Pérez, from the Catalan city of Figueres, was sacked from his new job just 24 hours after he was appointed when a picture emerged of him at a pro-Catalan indy event in 2013. Pérez was chosen to head the government of Aragon’s digital administration, but a politician from the Citizens party shared a photo showing him at the event six years ago. He was immediately sacked.

He accused the Aragonese president of “catalanophobia”, and added: “I shouldn’t be required to justify my political views, whatever the job is.”