A board member of one of the two main pro-independence civil groups addressed the topic of human rights in Catalonia at the Council of Europe (CoE) on Tuesday evening, on the second anniversary of the 2017 independence referendum. Òmnium Cultural was represented by Elena Jiménez-Botias, who spoke before the Committee of Human Rights and Legal Affairs of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg, focusing on the case of Òmnium’s jailed president, Jordi Cuixart.

Cuixart remains in preventive custody awaiting a verdict in the trial of 12 Catalan independence leaders in Spain’s Supreme Court. The activist leader, who is facing 17 years in prison for rebellion, has now been behind bars for almost two years. In her CoE address, the Òmnium representative condemned the “serious violations of human rights” in Spain, which she attributed to “political repression” and suggested that should Cuixart be convicted, it would mean a “regression of civil rights in Europe.”

The Òmnium representative also told the Strasbourg committee that the conflict between Catalonia and Spain “will not end through more repression, but rather through a political solution,” and claimed that this is what some 80% of Catalan society wants.

This week, Cuixart, with fellow jailed activist leader Jordi Sànchez, released a statement from prison titled “The seed of freedom”, calling on people to “return to the streets” on the referendum’s anniversary to carry out peaceful protests.