Catalonia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Alfred Bosch, asks the Spanish authorities to comply with the Working Group’s decision

In an official statement, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions demands the immediate release of three of the Catalan political prisoners. The UN Working Group, which depends on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights), asks for the prisoners’ release but also for Spain to compensate for the time spent in preventive detention.  

The Working Group considers that both freedom of expression and the right to manifestation and participation have been clearly violated. Likewise, the statement places the Catalan pro-independence leaders within a “peaceful political movement“, and they are reported to be in jail “for their political ideas.”  

Spanish authorities to comply with the UN ruling

The Catalan Minister for Foreign Action, Institutional Relations and Transparency, Alfred Bosch, demands that the Spanish authoritiescomply with the UN Working Group’s decision by releasing the political prisoners immediately.” Bosch warns that the decision clearly shows that preventiveprison is a discretionary and disproportionate measure in this case”.

In this sense, Bosch further underlines the need of the Spanish state to become aware of the problem andabandon the repression in order to establish a dialogue with Catalonia” interpreting the UN Working Group’s conclusions as “a clear sign to find a peaceful and negotiated solution to the Catalan issue.”

Pro-independence movement, a democratic and peaceful option

According to the Catalan FA Minister, thepreventive prison has been used to seek revenge and go against the pro-independence movement,” a political option the Minister stresses as democratic and peaceful, which has been validated at the ballot boxes by the Catalan citizens in the recent European, Spanish and local elections.”  

The trial, a historic error

This decision presented by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions “is another example of how this trial is a historic error,” says the minister Bosch. “We insist that the only way out of the conflict is through dialogue and to give voice to the citizens of Catalonia so that they can decide their own future,” FA Minister, Bosch, concludes.

Bosch stressed, once again, the importance of Spain to follow this International warning, as the decision of the UN Working Group “is legitimate and creates jurisprudence.” The Spanish State ought to comply with recommendations forwarded by the United Nations.  

Not the first time

It is not the first time that an International body questions the Spanish judiciary’s decision of keeping the Catalan political prisoners incarcerated. AmnestyInternational, the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), Frontline Defenders, among others, have asked for the immediate release of the prisoners. Also, both the German and Belgian judiciary already asserted that there were no crimes of rebellion and sedition and refused to extradite the former ministers and the former Catalan president in exile.

Spain “is not acting like any democratic country in Europe”

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions asks for the immediate release of the leader of the Catalan Republican Party (ERC), Oriol Junqueras; the president of the cultural civil society organisation Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart; and the former leader of the pro-independence civil society organisation ANC, Jordi Sànchez. The case was presented to the UN Working Group by the international lawyer, and former UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights, Ben Emmerson, back in February 2018. According to Emmerson, Spain “is not acting like any democratic country in Europe” and the country is “violating democratic principles“.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions meets three times a year to analyse International rights violations, human rights violations and arbitrary detentions going against the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The group is chaired by the Mexican Human Rights expert Mr José Guevara Bermúdez and the rest of the members are Ms Leigh Toomey (Australia), Ms Elina Steinerte (Latvia), Mr Seong-Phil Hong (Republic of Korea), and Mr Sètondji Adjovi (Benin).