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Working Group on Arbitrary Dentention of the UN on Political Prisoners in Spain

Prof. Dr. Axel Schönberger

May 28, 2019 — 

The decision of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the United Nations regarding Catalan politicians detained in Spain, who are considered 'political prisoners' worldwide, will be announced and explained on 29 May 2019 at a press conference by Ben Emmerson, attorney for the detained Catalan politicians, in the Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL, starting 17:30. The decision, which is not binding on Spain, could, however, be relevant for proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Expert lawyers expect the United Nations to demand the immediate release of the catalan political prisoners.

According to a report by NacióDigital, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention demands the immediate release of Dr Oriol Junqueras (Esquerra Republicana), who was also elected to the European Parliament on 26 May 2019 with a convincing election result, Jordi Cuixart (President of Òmnium Cultural) and Jordi Sànchez (former President of the ANC). In addition, the working party takes the view that the Spanish State should adequately compensate the three politicians imprisoned without a sentence for the duration of their imprisonment.

After a detailed investigation of the case of the three Catalan politicians, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the United Nations, chaired by the Mexican José Guevara Bermúdez, came to the conclusion that the so-called «pre-trial detention» of the three Catalan politicians violates fundamental rights of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The resolution should be unusually clear and tough for the Spanish state and especially for its foreign ministry.

After the announcement of this decision, will European newspapers such as the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung continue to trivialise or ignore the serious human rights violations in Spain, as they have done so far? Will the Europeans Governments take note of the serious allegations made against Spain by the Working Group on Arbitrary Dentention of the United Nations? Will Europe continue to remain silent, betray its own values and look the other way?

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