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Catalan president urges Spain to free pro-independence leaders following UN report

Spain demands that two members of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention be disqualified


31 May 2019 12:31 PM



The Catalan president has urged his Spanish counterpart to "take the necessary measures" to free all pro-independence leaders following the publication of a United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention report on the matter.

Catalan President Quim Torra sent Spanish President Pedro Sánchez a letter on Friday in which he stated that the jailed leaders had to be freed for moral and humanitarian reasons since, according to him, their imprisonment is “arbitrary” and contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The Catalan president also asked the Spanish government to open an “exhaustive and independent” inquiry into their detention to ensure the accountability of those responsible. Attached to his letter, he included a copy of the UN Working Group’s opinions.

The government decided that it would urge the state prosecutor to withdraw all charges against the Catalan leaders on trial in the Supreme Court and free them immediately following the publication this week of the report demanding that three of the jailed leaders be released.

In a meeting on Friday, the cabinet decided to make the official request through Catalonia's chief prosecutor after the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention urged Spain on Wednesday to free Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart.

Earlier in the week, President Quim Torra criticized Spain's "indiscriminate and impartial" use of state institutions against the independence leaders and argued that the UN report should be extended to the rest of the defendants who are also on trial.

The Spanish government has asked the United Nations to disqualify two out of five of the members of the UN panel responsible for writing the report on the imprisonment of pro-independence leaders. Spanish diplomats in Geneva claim there is a "conflict of interests" between them and the jailed leaders’ defense teams.

The Spanish government has also responded to Torra’s letter by stating that the issue is a judicial matter that is entirely dependent on the Spanish judiciary system and not the government.


  • President Quim Torra at an event on May 31 (Guillem Roset/ACN)

  • President Quim Torra at an event on May 31 (Guillem Roset/ACN)