Lawyers call for investigation into Spain's human rights infringements in Catalonia
Some 650 legal professionals back report sent to the Council of Europe condemning Spain’s handling of Catalan conflict
A group of law professors from Catalan universities, with the backing of colleagues from around Spain, has filed a complaint with the Council of Europe over the infringement of human rights in Catalonia by the Spanish authorities during the independence referendum on October 1.
The 50-page report from the Col·lectiu Praga, an association of academic lawyers set up in 2013 to promote Catalonia’s right to self-determination, has been signed by some 650 lawyers from all over Spain and sent to the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks.
The document includes a full list of all the restrictions and infringements that the Col·lectiu Praga claims that Mariano Rajoy’s executive has imposed on the Catalan institutions and public that contravene “the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 1950.”
'Extreme judicialization' of Catalan conflict
The report also condemns the “extreme judicialization” of the Catalan conflict, the repression by the Spanish police that left 1,066 people injured, and the suspension of Catalonia’s self-rule under Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. The Col·lectiu Praga argues there is enough evidence for the Council to “begin an independent investigation.”
"Instead of choosing dialogue to solve the conflict, the Spanish state has preferred to take the path of judicialization and repression"
“Instead of choosing dialogue to solve the conflict, the Spanish state has preferred to take the path of judicialization and repression, with serious infringements of rights and freedoms, charging the leaders of two organizations behind this peaceful and democratic process with the non-existent crimes of rebellion and sedition, as well as the president, the vice president and ministers of the Catalan government,” reads the report.
On October 9, the Council of Europe, a consultative body with the aim of upholding human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in Europe, formally asked Spain’s interior minister, Juan Ignacio Zoido, to investigate the actions of the Spanish police on October 1. According to Muiznieks at the time, the police used “disproportionate” force in trying to stop the voting.