Catalan Ombudsman tells Council of Europe: 'There are political prisoners in Spain'
Rafael Ribó meets Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic to discuss political situation and fundamental rights in Catalonia
The Catalan Ombudsman, Rafael Ribó, met on Tuesday the Commissioner of Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Dunja Mijatovic, to discuss the political situation in Catalonia and denounce that "there are political prisoners in Spain." Ribó held a series of other bilateral meetings in Strasbourg with representatives of the Council of Europe and admitted that some of them were "surprised" to hear about the state of affairs in Catalonia.
"They were not aware enough that there are political prisoners," said Ribó to the Catalan News Agency (ACN) after the meetings. According to the Ombudsman, "sooner or later" the Council of Europe will "have to intervene" in the situation, as it is an organization concerned with the protection of fundamental rights in Europe.
Ribó told Mijatovic that she should ask the Spanish government to present her with a report on the police violence during referendum day. In fact, Mijatovic predecessor as Human Rights Commissioner, Nils Muiznieks, condemned the "disproportionate" and "unnecessary" use of violence by Spanish police during the independence vote and urged an "independent and effective" investigation. The report, however, was never sent, as the then Spanish minister of Home Affairs rejected all allegations and justified the behavior of the police corps.
The Catalan Ombudsman described the meeting with Mijatovic as "positive" and cordial. Rafael Ribó gave her a copy of his report on alleged violations "of fundamental rights and freedoms" following the independence vote and the judicial case against former Catalan leaders currently in jail or exile. Ribó invited the Commissioner to visit Catalonia next year.