Spain ignores the UN WGAD’s demands to release the Catalan leaders


Barcelona, 27th November 2019Spain has ignored the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s demands to release the Catalan leaders. This international body had set a 6-month deadline for the Spanish authorities to free and compensate the Catalan social and political figures who “always acted in exercise of fundamental rights”. This deadline has expired this week with no answer from Spain.

In the face of this situation, Òmnium Cultural, the main cultural and civil rights organisation in Catalonia and Spain with more than 180.000 members, urges the acting Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez, to stop disregarding this international body and meet the United Nations WGAD’s demands.

Jordi Cuixart, president of Òmnium Cultural has stated from prison that “Spain, by ignoring international human rights bodies, acts like a country with low democratic levels”. Cuixart points out from the penitentiary center of Lledoners that “after six months, nor the Spanish government has released us neither any reparations have been made, as the UN requested”.

Six months ago, this UN body which belongs to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, requested the release of Jordi Cuixart, Jordi Sánchez and Oriol Junqueras in considering that during the events of autumn 2017 they acted “in exercise of fundamental rights”. Weeks after, in July 2019, the UN WGAD also requested the release of Raül Romeva, Josep Rull, Dolors Bassa and Joaquim Forn.

Cuixart, sentenced to serve 9 years in prison for exercising human rights

Jordi Cuixart was sentenced to 9 years in prison for “sedition” by the Spanish Supreme Court. This social and cultural activist was prosecuted for having led a peaceful demonstration and making public calls in favour of the Catalan referendum in autumn 2017; that is to say, for exercising his rights to peacefully protest and freedom of speech.