The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has called for the immediate release of three imprisoned pro-independence leaders: activists Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, and former Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras. A report by the group asks for compensation for all three and considers their detention and imprisonment to be a violation of fundamental rights, especially freedom of speech.

Sànchez, Cuixart and Junqueras were the first politcal prisoners to take their cases to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in February 2018, with other incarcerated officials later joining the request – thus the United Nations institution, dependent on the UN Human Rights Council, has so far only ruled on Sànchez, Cuixart and Junqueras.

Ben Emmerson

Former ministers Joaquim Forn, Josep Rull, Raül Romeva and Dolors Bassa, also behind bars, took their detentions to the same UN group in July 2018.

Their defense in this international cause is led by lawyer Ben Emmerson, specializing in human rights and international criminal law. Throughout his career, he has appeared before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, the International Criminal Court in the Hague and the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. He will appear before international media today at 17.30 in London.