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Spain's actions to be challenged in European Court of Human Rights

“Violation of fundamental rights” says lawyer of ex-Secretary General of Ministry of Economy, who will take the case to Strasbourg


27 September 2017 05:10 PM


ACN | Barcelona

Last week's arrests of senior Catalan officials will be challenged before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg for “violation of fundamental rights,” according to Andreu Van den Eynde, lawyer of ex-Secretary General of the Ministry of Economy, Josep Maria Jové.

Van den Eynde announced that he will begin proceedings to denounce the Spanish government for events that have been taking place in Catalonia over the last few weeks outside the headquarters of leftwing party Esquerra Catalana (ERC).

“The time has come to go to international jurisdictions and ask the European Court of Human Rights, as a result of the entire collection of violations against fundamental rights that my clients are experiencing,” he said.

Supported by ERC, and accompanied by MEP Josep Maria Terricabras and ex-deputy Ernest Maragall, Van den Eynde said the detainees' legal team is working on its strategy to bring the case before the European court.

EU support

Although the European Commission has remained largely silent on what is happening in Catalonia, the Spanish government's actions have prompted responses from some European politicians.

Liberal MEP Renate Weber, lawyer and former ad hoc judge of the European Court of Human Rights, has called the arrests of Catalan officials an “abuse” of power, asking for dialogue between Spain and Catalonia, and that the normal political routes be followed instead of “judicial action.”

  • "In the end people will vote en masse in a peaceful way and nobody will be able to stop it"

    Mark Demesmaeker · MEP

Belgian politician and MEP Mark Demesmaeker, who will act as an international observer of the referendum on October 1, explained how he “admires” the “decent, peaceful” and “democratic” reactions of Catalans in the face of Spain's aggressions.

“Maybe they will try to stop it, he said, “but in the end people will vote en masse in a peaceful way and nobody will be able to stop it.”

The European Greens have also called upon the European Commission (EC) to initiate an “urgent dialogue” before this Sunday. Presidents of the party Ska Keller and Phillipe Lamberts wrote to the EC stating that “fundamental values of the EU such as freedom of expression or assembly are being put at risk.”

A political solution

“We firmly believe that trying to avoid a referendum using criminal law and weakening fundamental freedoms is not a solution to a conflict that has a clear political basis,” they wrote. “It is urgent to restore talks between the Catalan and Spanish authorities to find a political solution to the current situation.”

The Left Socialist Party of Norway also warned Rajoy that democracy “must be respected.”

MEP Maria Terricabras, speaking alongside Van den Eynde, said that the EU's reactions had been slow thus far, but he was sure it would have to get involved. “I am sure it will intervene,” he said. “I suspect that if the legal and legitimate vote is prevented this Sunday, depending what happens against it, the EU will be forced to intervene much more quickly and forcefully.”


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  • Josep Maria Terricabras and Ernest Maragall with lawyer Andreu Van den Eynde, at Esquerra Catalana's headquarters