The Amnesty International Report 2017/18 — The state of the world’s human rights has been presented in Washington D. C. today. We’re publishing some excerpts relating to the situation in Catalonia, to which has been given much space in the chapter dedicated to Spain:
Kingdom of Spain
Head of state: King Felipe VI de Borbón
Head of government: Mariano Rajoy
The rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly of Catalan independence supporters were disproportionally restricted. Dozens of people were prosecuted for “glorification of terrorism” and “humiliation of victims” on social media. Law enforcement officials used excessive force against demonstrators peacefully resisting the enforcement of the High Court of Justice of Catalonia’s ruling stopping the Catalan independence referendum. Spain relocated fewer asylum-seekers than it had pledged to under the EU relocation scheme, and resettled fewer refugees than it had committed to. Thousands of people continued to face forced evictions. The authorities continued to close investigations into crimes under international law committed during the Civil War and the Franco regime.
FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION AND ASSEMBLY
Following the Constitutional Court decision of 7 September aimed at preventing the referendum, some authorities disproportionately restricted the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Courts in Madrid and Vitoria in the Basque country prohibited two public assemblies aimed at supporting the referendum. The municipality of Castelldefels in Catalonia adopted a blanket ban on the use of public spaces for assemblies aimed at supporting or protesting against the referendum.
On 16 October, a High Court judge ordered the pre-trial detention of Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sánchez, the presidents of two pro- Catalan-independence organizations. They were detained and charged with sedition, a broadly defined offence, in connection with protests they organized in Barcelona on 20 and 21 September to, according to a judge, oppose a lawful police operation. In November, the Supreme Court took charge of the proceedings against Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart. The Supreme Court extended the investigation against them to the offence of rebellion.
Dozens of people were prosecuted for “glorification of terrorism” and “humiliation of victims” on social media networks. In many instances, authorities pressed criminal charges against people who had expressed opinions that did not constitute incitement to a terrorism-related offence and fell within the permissible forms of expression under international human rights law. […]
EXCESSIVE USE OF FORCE
Law enforcement officials policing protests on 1 October in Catalonia used excessive force against peaceful protesters who were opposing a police operation. The police fired blank cartridges and rubber bullets, seriously injuring one person and causing him to lose the sight in one eye.
And that’s what Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International said to catalan public broadcaster TV3:
It’s just unbelievable all this is happening inside the EU… and thus could literally happen anywhere else.