Statement of the Catalan Ombudsman


Following of the publication of the judgment of the Spanish Supreme Court (TS) in special cause 20907/2017, the Catalan Ombudsman considers it necessary to recall that this serious situation it is mainly due to the repeated lack of institutional dialogue for at least fifteen years to try to solve historical and political problems.

Regardless of a thorough analysis of the sentence in the upcoming weeks, the Catalan Ombudsman reiterates, as pointed out in several reports and statements of recent years that the events that took place in Catalonia during fall of 2017 constituted the exercise of fundamental rights of expression and demonstration. The consideration of these expressions within the criminal type of sedition and the sentences imposed are manifestly disproportionate. The Catalan Ombudsman draws attention to the possible impact of the sentence on the interpretation of the scope of fundamental rights and freedoms and, as it has done so far, will continue to oversee its guarantee and respect. The Catalan Ombudsman will shortly submit a report on this issue.

In any case, neither the sentence of the TS nor the electoral process should prevent the immediate beginning of a constructive, open and omnipresent dialogue to achieve a political solution to the conflict. This dialogue should not be limited only to the political and institutional sphere, but must also take place between the civil societies of Catalonia and the rest of the State, on the one hand, and among actors of all the political and social sensibilities of Catalonia, on the other. And, in this framework, all parties should have the courage to recognize the errors committed during this process.

A key element in facilitating political dialogue would be the release of condemned political and social leaders as soon as possible. In this regard, the Catalan Ombudsman asks the Government and the Spanish Parliament resulting from the elections on November 10 to explore the fastest way to release the convicted persons.

This statement is forwarded to the European Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the same organization, the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations and the international and state ombudsmen.