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A rundown of Amnesty's report on jailed leaders

Request for freedom for two activists, criticism of sedition charges and concern surrounding Spain's judicial approach on mass peaceful demonstrations among top topics

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19 November 2019 02:42 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Amnesty International has criticized the verdict on nine Catalan political and civil leaders who were convicted for sedition to 9 to 13 years in jail for their role in the 2017 independence push, released by Spain's Supreme Court on October 14. 

These are the most important sections of the NGO's report, released on Tuesday.

Request for freedom of activists

"Amnesty International condemns the decision of Spanish authorities to try and convict the members of civil society Jordi Sànchez, President of the Catalan National Assembly, and Jordi Cuixart, President of the Òmnium Cultural, for the crime of sedition because it constitutes an excessive and disproportionate restriction on their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly".

"Amnesty International urges the authorities to ensure that Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, who have already spent more than two years in prison, are immediately released and to ensure a legal process that permits their convictions for sedition to be quashed." 

Criticism of sedition charges

"Amnesty International is concerned about the impact this application of the crime of sedition may have on the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly as well as its possible chilling effect on the exercise of such rights in the future."

"[In Spain's criminal code, the crime of sedition is vaguely defined , in contravention of the principle of legality as described in Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights."

  • "Amnesty is concerned about the impact this application of the crime of sedition may have on the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly"

    Amnesty International report

"Amnesty International expresses concern about the possible chilling effect of the imposition of the crime of sedition on actions that result directly from the peaceful exercise of the rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. The vague definition of the crime of sedition, and its interpretation and application by the Supreme Court, creates insecurity and uncertainty regarding the limits of this serious crime".

Limiting peaceful demonstrations

"Defining the limits of the crime of sedition based on the massive or generalized character of these peaceful actions would imply, in practice, a limit on the number of people who can simultaneously exercise their right to peaceful assembly, which is contrary to international human rights law."

"Amnesty International reiterates that non-violent direct action, including acts of civil disobedience, are protected by the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Therefore, restrictions on these activities must also meet the requirements established by international human rights law."

Seven former government members convicted

"The former members of the Govern and the Parliament may have committed crimes that can be legitimately prosecuted by virtue of the public offices they held at the time. In this sense, it is important to note that the judgment attributes criminal responsibility to them for actions that are not protected by the exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly [...]."

"However, Amnesty International is concerned about the conviction for the crime of sedition imposed on the former members of the Govern and the Parlament because it is based on a vaguely defined crime and its broad interpretation by the Court, which violates the principle of legality."

Amnesty's recommendations to Spain

"Substantially review the legal definition of the crime of sedition to guarantee that it does not unduly criminalize acts of peaceful civil disobedience or impose disproportionate punishments for actions related to the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly."

"Ensure that Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart are immediately released and guarantee a process that allows for their conviction on the crime of sedition to be quashed since this is an excessive and disproportionate punishment for actions that resulted from the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly."

 "Ensure that, in the course of eventual legal remedies available to those convicted for the crime of sedition, there is due consideration given to the violation of the principle of legality resulting from a conviction for a crime whose definition and interpretation contravenes international human rights law. In particular, Amnesty International calls on the representatives of the Ministerio Fiscal of the Constitutional Court to, in the exercise of the functions granted to them by law in the ‘amparo’ process, adopt a position that defends and upholds the principle of legality in accordance with international human rights standards."

 

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  • Amnesty released the full report on Tuesday (by Guifré Jordan)

  • Amnesty released the full report on Tuesday (by Guifré Jordan)

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