Statement of the Catalan Ombudsman



Following the arrest of nine people accused of preparing terrorist acts and the ruling of the Spanish National Court ordering pre-trial detention without bail of seven of them, the Catalan Ombudsman states that:

1. All democratic ideas must be able to defend and debate in a peaceful and respectful way respecting the ideas of others. No political aspiration justifies the use of violent means in our society and the Catalan Ombudsman will always condemn the use of violence to do politics. In this sense, it should be noted that demonstrations and demands in recent years regarding the territorial debate in Catalonia have always been peaceful.

2. Every detained person is the holder of fundamental rights recognized in the Spanish Constitution and in the international treaties signed by the Kingdom of Spain, including the right to put the detention in knowledge of a lawyer from the moment of arrest. According to the information available, these rights have not been respected for most of the detainees in this case, who have been under police custody for more than 30 hours without legal aid.

3. Likewise, every detainee has the right to know what is being charged with, which in this case has not been respected because of the secrecy of judicial inquiries decreed by the judge. In this sense, if indeed the inquiry is a reserved matter, it is surprising that the Spanish Civil Guard disseminated images of the alleged explosive material that detainees supposedly would have had. These facts should be investigated, as they constitute a violation of secrecy of judicial inquiries.

4. This presumption of innocence, which is of utmost importance within judicial proceedings, should at least inspire public authorities and political leaders that make public statements about these events. Any expression that at this stage takes for granted the commission of crimes by the detainees does not favour a serious and rigorous inquiry of the facts by the competent judicial authorities.

This statement has been forwarded to the Spanish Ombudsman and other international institutions for the defence of human rights to their knowledge and consideration.

Barcelona, 27th September 2019