SHARE
COPY LINK

PROTESTS

Amnesty International demands immediate release of jailed Catalan leaders

Amnesty International has called for the immediate release of two jailed Catalan leaders, insisting that the "vague" and "overly broad" interpretation of sedition used to jail them could have a profound effect on the right to protest in Spain.

Amnesty International demands immediate release of jailed Catalan leaders
Photo: AFP

Spain's Supreme Court on October 14th sentenced nine Catalan separatist leaders to lengthy jail terms over an abortive 2017 independence bid, setting off a wave of angry protests that repeatedly descended into violence.

“It is clear that the Supreme Court's interpretation of the crime of sedition was overly broad and resulted in criminalising legitimate acts of protest,” said Daniel Joloy, a senior policy advisor with Amnesty International.

The report focused on the cases of Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, two activists who were sentenced to nine years in prison for ignoring court orders by leading a protest against a police operation designed to halt the referendum.

The organization considers that the nine-year convictions for sedition handed down to Sànchez and Cuixart “violate their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.” These convictions “must be quashed,” the organisation said.

 

The other jailed separatist leaders were politicians rather than rights activists. The statement published by Amnesty International did not spell out in details the group's views on what should happen to them.

READ ALSO: 

 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

ENVIRONMENT

Why has the expansion of Barcelona airport prompted mass protests?

Around 10,000 people demonstrated against the expansion of the El Prat airport in Barcelona on Sunday.

Why has the expansion of Barcelona airport prompted mass protests?
People march during a demonstration against the expansion of the Barcelona-El Prat airport. Photo: Pau BARRENA / AFP

Several ecological and agricultural organisations, have demanded that the expansion be stopped due to the fact nearby wetlands and farms would have to be destroyed.

The demonstration took place on Calle Tarragona in the Catalan capital between Plaça d’Espanya and Plaça dels Països Catalans.

The protests still took place, even though last week, Spain suspended the €1.7 billion airport expansion project, citing differences with the Catalan government, after president Pere Aragonès said he wanted to avoid destroying La Ricarda lagoon, a natural reserve next to the airport. 

Environmentalists decided not to call off the march, in case plans for the airport expansion still went ahead.

READ ALSO: Six things you need to know about Barcelona airport’s €1.7 billion planned expansion

Political representatives from ERC, En Comú Podem and the CUP also attended, as well as the leader of Más País, Íñigo Errejón; the Deputy Mayor for Ecology of the Barcelona City Council, Janet Sanz, and the Mayor of El Prat de Llobregat, Lluís Mijoler.

People from neighbourhoods across the city marched towards Calle Tarragona and could be seen holding placards that read Nature yes, airport no and shouting slogans such as “More courgettes and fewer planes” and “Fighting for the climate, health, and life”. 

One of the largest groups of people were those from El Prat de Llobregat, the municipality which is home to the airport, who were led by tractors. 

People march during a demonstration against the expansion of Barcelona-El Prat airport. Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP

In addition to protesting against the expansion of the El Prat airport, people were also demonstrating against the Winter Olympic Games in the Pyrenees and extensions to airports in Mallorca and Madrid. 

A representative of Zeroport, Sara Mingorría said “We are here to defend not only La Ricarda, but the entire Delta”. 

The philosopher Marina Garcés also argued that the expansion of the airport would mean “more borders, more mass tourism, more control and more precarious jobs.” 

The leader of the commons in the Catalan parliament, Jéssica Albiach, who also attended the protest, asked the PSOE for “coherence”: “You cannot be passing a law against climate change and, at the same time, defend the interests of Aena [the airport operations company]”, she said. 

She also urged the leader of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, to “definitely say no. 

If the airport expansion in Barcelona goes ahead, environmentalists say that CO2 emissions would rise by a minimum of 33 percent. These levels would surpass the limits set by the Catalan government’s climate targets.

SHOW COMMENTS