PEN International writers have issued a statement calling on the Spanish authorities to withdraw the “excessive ” charges against Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixar for rebellion and sedition. The statement was signed by writers including Erri De Luca, Suso de Toro, Colm Tóibín and Indi Salil Tripathi and promoted by sixteen centres pertaining to this international writers’ association -PEN America, PEN Argentina, PEN Basque, PEN Canada, PEN Croatia, PEN Scotland, PEN Slovenia, PEN Estonia, PEN France, PEN Honduras, PEN Mexico, PEN Portugal, PEN Quebec, PEN Russia and the Francophone Swiss PEN.
The statement was issued yesterday in Barcelona by the Mexican-American president of PEN International, Jennifer Clement. It condemns the “excessive restrictions” on freedom of speech resulting from the “sedition and rebellion charges against Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart[which] are clearly excessive” and recalls that these figures have been in custody on remand for over a year for “peacefully expressing their political ideas”.
The executive director of PEN international, Carles Torner recalls that PEN is an advisory organization to the UN Human Rights Commission, and this year Spain is one of the countries due a human rights review.
Jennifer Clement explains that PEN is currently focusing on combating “propaganda, lies and xenophobia” as the main threats facing truth and freedom today. Turkey, Hungary, India, Venezuela, Cuba, Ukraine and Israel are the countries in which PEN has promoted initiatives in the last year.