WHEN INJUSTICE IS THE LAW, CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE IS A RIGHT
When you have been imprisoned as a result of an injustice, what do you have left? You have the chance of obeying your own conscience and not falling into resignation or frustration. Neither as a person, nor as a people. Jordi Cuixart has decided to transform the sadness and grayness of a cell into the best speaker in the shared struggle for self-determination and human rights. He invites us not to give up, to protest and to non-violent permanent mobilization. Because when injustice is the law, civil disobedience is a right.
WHO IS JORDI CUIXART?
JORDI CUIXART is a 45-year-old Catalan businessman and activist. He is a political prisoner and the President of Òmnium Cultural, a Barcelona-based NGO working in the fields of culture and civil rights, with more than 180.000 members. From the first day he spent in prison, he decided to use his situation to continue his fight for civil rights, but he also committed himself to keep loving and living his life. He’s done so: during his imprisonment his youngest son was born and he has gotten married.
WHY IS JORDI CUIXART IN PRISON?
Jordi Cuixart has spent the last 3 years of his life in prison. He was accused of sedition after organising a peaceful demonstration 20th September 2017, some days before the referendum on self-determination in Catalonia was held on 1 October 2017. Amnesty International, Front Line Defenders, World Organization Against Torture and the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention have all agreed that he was just exercising his rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, as a social leader, and that he should be immediately released. But Spanish authorities have systematically neglected their international obligations and ignored petitions to free him. Instead, the Spanish Supreme Court sentenced him to 9 years of prison in October last year.
Following the suspension of a flexible regime of detention granted by the court, and due to restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jordi Cuixart’s detention conditions have significantly worsened, and he is now spending up to 23 hours per day alone in his cell. At a time when the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has called for the release of all human rights defenders detained for expressing dissenting views, it is of utmost urgency that Spanish authorities release Jordi Cuixart.
Jordi Cuixart’s goal is not to get out of prison quickly, but to turn his imprisonment into a vindication of the nonviolent fight against unjust laws and rulings. That is why, when he declared before the Supreme Court judges, he said: “Whatever I did, I would do it again”. Hence the title of his book.