Amnesty calls for 'immediate release' of jailed leaders after year of detention
NGO says pre-trial imprisonment of Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart is "disproportionate" and restricts their rights to free speech and peaceful assembly
A year after two pro-independence activists were remanded in custody, Amnesty International has called for their "immediate release."
Amnesty Deputy Director for Europe, Fotis Fillippou, said "there is no justification for keeping" the two leaders in pre-trial jail.
Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart were arrested on October 16, 2017 on charges of sedition. Afterwards, their case was combined with the lawsuit against the organizers of last year's independence referendum and they were charged with rebellion. They have now been in prison, without trial, for a year.
"Amnesty International believes their continued detention constitutes a disproportionate restriction of their rights to free speech and peaceful assembly," said Fillippou.
In the indictment, Sànchez and Cuixart are accused of organizing participation in the independence referendum of October 1, which was suspended by the Constitutional Court.
They are also accused of calling people to gather in front of government buildings on September 20-21, 2017, when Spanish police raided them and arrested several officials.
"Amnesty International believes their continued detention constitutes a disproportionate restriction of their rights to free speech and peaceful assembly
Fotis Fillippou · Amnesty Deputy Director for Europe
According to Amnesty International, the charges against the two men are "unfounded" and "must be dropped."
While Amnesty argues that "if it can be shown" that they called on demonstrators to prevent police from carrying out a "lawful operation" this could constitute a prosecutable "public order offence," but the NGO rejects the charge that they committed "serious crimes, such as rebellion or sedition."
Images from the September 20-21 demonstrations show how Sànchez and Cuixart helped create a security cordon for police officers to get in and out of the buildings being searched. They urged protesters to remain peaceful at all times and eventually called off the demonstration following continuous conversations with police.