According to the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), the 9-year prison sentences for jailed independence activists Jordi Cuixart of Òmnium Cultural and former Catalan National Assembly (ANC) president Jordi Sànchez are “disproportionate” and should be annulled. In a letter sent to Spanish president Pedro Sánchez on Tuesday, OMCT Secretary General Gerald Staberock demands that their sentences be suspended until the Constitutional Court rules on their appeal, which was accepted for consideration on May 6.

Staberock also calls for the definition of the crime of sedition to be reviewed in the Spanish Criminal Code in a way that “establishes safeguards against possible restrictions to the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”

Cuixart and Sànchez were convicted for sedition by the Spanish Supreme Court in October 2019 in relation to their role during the 2017 Catalan independence referendum. The OMCT already asked for their freedom in November 2018, in the same way as other organisations such as Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch have done.

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