Amnesty calls on Spain to release jailed Catalan leader
Prolonged imprisonment is “excessive” and “disproportionate”
The head of Amnesty International in Europe, Gauri van Gulik, has called for the immediate release of the jailed Catalan leader, Jordi Sànchez, who has been in prison for nearly four months. He was arrested alongside Jordi Cuixart, the president of the civic organisation Òmnium Cultural, as part of an investigation into the independence process, and the alleged related crime of sedition in the run up to the October 1 referendum. Van Gulik termed these possible charges as unjust, stating that they should be dropped.
“Although calling protests to obstruct legitimate police operations can – if proof is produced of their commission – constitute a public order offence, it does not constitute a serious crime such as sedition or rebellion,” she said.
On Tuesday, the Spanish judge overseeing the case, Pablo Llarena, denied a request for his freedom, citing the possibility of a re-offence as Sanchez’s pro-independence ideology remained unchanged. In January, Sànchez stated that he renounced any unilateral means for Catalonia to become an independent republic, hoping it might fast track his release.
“The extension of Jordi Sànchez’s provisional custody constitutes an excessive and disproportionate restriction on his right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly," van Gulik said.