Amnesty International calls for the "immediate" release of Sànchez and Cuixart

The organization condemns their imprisonment on the eve of the one-year anniversary of their incarceration

Amnesty International (AI) has denounced the fact that the former president of the ANC, Jordi Sànchez, and the president of Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart, have been in prison for a year, calling for them both to be released. In a press release, AI’s Campaigns Director for Europe, Fotis Filippou, declared that there is "no justification" for keeping them in pre-trial custody and repeated the NGO’s call for their "immediate" release. He went on to say that "Amnesty International considers their continued detention to constitute a disproportionate restriction on their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly".

In addition, in the same statement, the human rights organization decried the Spanish Supreme Court’s recent decision to reject two petitions to release Sànchez and Cuixart and the fact that the Constitutional Court has repeatedly declined requests to temporarily release Jordi Sànchez, the former leader of the ANC and current MP. According to Filippou, "Instead of taking the opportunity to bring an end to the arrests, the judicial authorities have perpetuated this injustice".

In the statement released this Monday, the NGO declared that "according to the information available to Amnesty International, the charges brought against both men are unfounded and ought to be dropped". Nevertheless, it stated that "if it can be shown" that they called on protesters to prevent the police operation taking place at the Ministry of the Economy on 20 September, said action could constitute a crime of public disorder. "However, accusing them of such serious crimes as rebellion and sedition and jailing them for a year is disproportionate", the organization remarked.

On Tuesday, a year after the two Jordis were imprisoned, both stand accused of using their influence within the ANC and Òmnium to "mobilize hundreds of thousands of followers to create a force to prevent the police from fulfilling their obligation to stop the illegal referendum from going ahead", according to the list of charges issued by Spain’s Supreme Court. Sànchez and Cuixart have been in jail since 16 October 2017, first in Madrid’s Soto del Real prison and now in Lledoners (Catalonia).

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