Olivier Peter: “The international community cannot close its eyes to the arbitrary arrests of social and political leaders”


At the UN, Jordi Cuixart’s lawyer has denounced the presence of the far right party Vox in the trial as the private prosecution.

Geneva, March 13 2019.- Within the framework of the 40th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Olivier Peter has denounced the multiple violations of fundamental rights that are taking place in the context of the trial against the Catalan leaders in Madrid during a roundtable organized by the Unesco Center for Catalonia. Jordi Cuixart’s lawyer, Olivier Peter, has called on the international community “to not close its eyes to the arbitrary arrests of social and political leaders for actions that fall under the exercise of fundamental rights”. During his intervention, he has also denounced the presence of the far right party Vox, which has been authorized by the court to act as a prosecutor in this trial and whose secretary general sits side-by-side with lawyers and representatives of the Spanish state.

Olivier Peter is the Lawyer of Jordi Cuixart, who is, in turn, the president of ômnium Cultural, the greatest cultural entity in Spain with over 160,000 members. It works for Catalan social cohesion, culture, and language. In pretrial detention for over 17 months, he is currently being tried in Madrid as part of the judicial process against 12 Catalan social and political leaders. Cuixart is being accused of rebellion and sedition and is facing up to 17 years in prison.

During the roundtable, Olivier Peter has reminded the audience that “Jordi Cuixart is a human rights defender is has been incarcerated for having organized massive and ever peaceful demonstrations, which represents a real problem of respect for human rights in Spain”. He has denounced that “while social leaders are sleeping in prison, those responsible for the police brutality against voters of the October 1, 2017 referendum have yet to face an investigation by the Spanish judiciary, something that produces a chilling effect on the activity of those organizations acting in defence of minorities in Catalonia and in the whole of Spain”. He has also added that “Amnesty International has called to withdraw the accusations of rebellion and sedition and has asked for the release of the civil society leaders”.

Finally, during this same roundtable, Michel Tubiana, honorary president of Euromed Rights, has declared that “there is a need to let a people decide its future within a fully democratic framework”.