Catalonia America Council Statement On Trials Of Catalan Civil Leaders

Human rights violations, lack of presumption of innocence until proven guilty and unjust charges call trials into question.

Washington, D.C. - February 19, 2019 - Today, the Catalonia America Council released the following statement in response to the trials of the Catalan government and civil society leaders, accused of rebellion and sedition for organizing an independence referendum in October 2017.

“The Catalonia America Council is deeply concerned about the trials of Catalan political and civil society leaders currently taking place in Madrid. These individuals, de facto political prisoners, face decades in prison for asking their population what they wanted out of their own future—nothing more.  

Several human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as a broad range of legal experts inside and outside of Spain, have expressed strong objections to their pre-trial detention, the excessive use of force on peaceful protesters and the perverse use of rebellion charges for violence perpetrated on (by Spanish security forces), rather than by, voters and members of the public.

In addition, numerous statements by high level Spanish government and parliamentary officials have eviscerated any semblance of the defendants’ presumption of innocence, having already publicly assumed and declared their guilt. An organized referendum is broadly and consistently supported by 80% of Catalans; a political rather than judicial solution is needed.

Americans should be especially attentive to these violations, and we should advocate for the same level of human rights protections abroad that we expect at home. This deserves immediate and intense international scrutiny. Democracy is at stake.”

Additional information about the trials and human rights injustices in Catalonia can be found here: