UN states that Spain violated political rights of Catalan pro-independence leaders

  • Human Rights Committee believes Junqueras, Romeva, Rull and Turull should not have been stripped of MP status before convictions

VilaWeb / Catalan News Agency
31.08.2022 - 11:14
Actualització: 31.08.2022 - 11:31

The United Nations’ Human Rights Committee has stated that Spain “violated” the political rights of four formerly jailed Catalan leaders, convicted for their roles in organizing the 2017 referendum on independence.

The opinion was released on Wednesday and refers to the fact that former vice president Oriol Junqueras, together with former ministers Raül Romeva, Josep Rull and Jordi Turull were stripped as MPs before having been convicted in October 2019.

During their pretrial detention, the four former Parliament members brought their case to the Committee, alleging that their suspension from public duties, prior to any conviction, violated their political rights under Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In October 2019, the four of them were convicted of sedition, a crime that does not include the element of violence, as opposed to rebellion, and their suspensions were lifted.

Rule of law

Taking note that the four complainants had urged the public to remain strictly peaceful, the Committee considered that the decision to charge them with the crime of rebellion, which led to their automatic suspension prior to a conviction, was not foreseeable and therefore not based on reasonable and objective grounds provided for by law.

“The Committee took an important step in affirming that the safeguards against the restrictions of political rights must be applied more rigorously if these restrictions occur prior to, rather than after, a conviction for an offence,” said Committee member Hélène Tigroudja. “The decision to suspend elected officials should rely on clear and foreseeable laws which establish reasonable and objective grounds for the restriction of the political rights, and must be applied based on an individualized assessment. Such an approach and safeguards are the best way to ensure respect for institutions and to promote the rule of law in a democratic society,” she added.


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