Misc 28/02/2018

Over 600 jurists denounce violation of human rights in Catalonia before Council of Europe

The Prague Collective, made up of law professors from Catalan universities, reports 9 violations

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BarcelonaThe Prague Collective, an association of law professors from Catalan universities, has filed a complaint with the Council of Europe signed by 650 jurists for violation of human rights. The complaint refers to events surrounding the October 1st referendum that, according to the experts, violate the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 1950.

"Instead of choosing dialogue to solve a political conflict, Spain opted for political repression and the institution of criminal charges, which resulted in serious violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. It pressed unsustainable charges of rebellion and sedition against the leaders of the two main civil organisations who had been mainly responsible for what was a peaceful and democratic process. It also prosecuted the Catalan President, the Catalan Vice- President and various Ministers of the Catalan Government. Some of those charged are in pre-trial detention, others have fled into exile. Spain has also de facto stripped Catalonia of its powers through the unconstitutional application of article 155 of the Spanish Constitution.", said the report published by the jurists, which mentions a "breakdown of democratic values and rule of law in Spain".

In the 50 page report, the legal experts opine that "there is sufficient evidence for the Commissioner for Human Rights to begin an independent and full investigation into the possible violations of rights” and they list several areas in which they believe that these violations have occurred:

* Rights of freedom of expression and assembly

* Prohibition of “degrading treatment”

* Right to vote, to stand for election, and to not be discriminated against for political opinions

* Right to freedom

* Right to an independent and impartial court

* Principle of penal legality

* Right to due process with full guarantees

* Right to to a second trial in the penal framework

* Right to defence preparation

All of these rights are recognized and protected by the European Convention and its protocols.

The Council of Europe is an advisory body, which has already taken a position in favor of a negotiated solution to the conflict between Catalonia and Spain.

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