Jailed Catalan leaders promise they'll only pursue independence by 'peaceful and democratic means' in future

Junqueras is Carles Puigdemont's second-in-command

Oriol Junqueras (pictured) and several other politicians were jailed after the referendum

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Four top Catalan politicians have promised to only pursue independence by "peaceful and democratic" methods if the Spanish government releases them from jail.

Oriol Junqueras, Raul Romeva, Dolors Bassa and Carles Mundo were all thrown in jail following Catalonia's independence referendum on October 1, but now they are demanding that the Spanish supreme court releases them.

The four politicians, members of the Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (Republican Left of Catalonia) party, are being investigated for their role in leading the illegal referendum at the start of last month.

However, in statements made to Spanish supreme court judge Pablo Llarena, they argue that there is no risk of their reoffending, and they accept the imposition of Article 155, the emergency constitutional clause which allowed the Spanish government to seize control of key Catalan institutions in light of the region's plebiscite, according to ABC.

The four politicians say they "won't give up defending their political convictions" in favour of independence, but these will only be pursued "by means which are strictly peaceful and democratic."

Their statement also promises that "they will work with the objective of reaching an agreement [with the national government] which allows a decision on the future politics of Catalonia to be placed in the hands of the people."

This suggests that the four separatists want no repeat of the referendum on October 1, which witnessed widespread violence from Spanish police and was criticised for failing to comply with international standards.

Catalonia's independence leader Carles Puigdemont remains in Belgium, having fled there after declaring independence at the end of October. Spain wishes to extradite Puigdemont to face his own trial for sedition, and a hearing is due to take place on December 4.