Jordi Cuixart was imprisoned for 3 years and 8 months for exercising human rights
Jordi Cuixart, activist, businessman, and president of Òmnium Cultural, was imprisoned in Spain in 2017 for exercising fundamentals rights such as freedom of expression and assembly, by participating in a peaceful demonstration in favour of a self-determination referendum for Catalonia. After spending 2 years in pre-trial detention, in 2019 he was sentenced by a politically motivated Spanish Supreme Court to serve 9 years for “sedition”, in violation of his rights and setting a worrying precedent for other activists across Europe.
But the Catalan citizens, mobilized in numerous demonstrations, and the international human rights community stood up for Jordi Cuixart. For almost 4 years, organisations, institutions, and human rights advocates gave their support to the release of Jordi Cuixart and the rest of the Catalan political prisoners and exiles. From the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to the very Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Also leading human rights NGOs such as Amnesty International, PEN International, OMCT, or Front Line Defenders. Not to mention the depiction of human rights violations in Spain in the international media.
Eventually, forced by international pressure and an increasing decline of Spain’s international image, the Spanish government pardoned Jordi Cuixart in July 2021. However, human rights violations haven’t been repaired and there are no guarantees of no-repetition. For this reason, Cuixart’s legal team filed an appeal before the European Court of Human Rights to do justice and ensure that never again a human rights defender is imprisoned in the European Union.