The Catalan Ombudsman will investigate the political and judicial responsibilities of the police action on October 1st


Although the order of the court is clear regarding the closure of the polling stations, it also says that it must be done "without affecting normal citizen coexistence"
The legal, Catalan, Spanish and European legal frameworks determine that freedom of expression, demonstration, assembly and information must prevail
The Catalan Ombudsman rejects the use of rubber balls, banned in Catalonia from 2014, and questions the proceedings of the searches

Following the police actions carried out on October 1st and the information and the complaints received, the Catalan Ombudsman has opened an ex officio action. Rafael Ribó has considered that, although the order of the High Court of Justice of Catalonia is clear about the closure of polling stations, it also points out that this must be done "without affecting normal citizen coexistence."

First of all, regarding the police raids, and given the lack of disturbances and violent behaviors on the the affected people, the Catalan Ombudsman wants to elucidate the political and judicial responsibilities. In particular, he is investigating what command gave the order to carry out the raids and what specific orders were given to riot police.

Rafael Ribó reminds that legal, Catalan, Spanish and European legal frameworks determine that freedom of expression, demonstration, assembly and information must prevail. They are the pillars of democracy, included in the European Code of Rights, subscribed by all States.

The Catalan Ombudsman has opened a specific ex-officio action on the aggression to a woman who was victim of sexual harassment.

Secondly, the use of rubber balls by the National Police is also investigated. In this sense, several sources point out that there are two people injured by a rubber ball. The Catalan Ombudsman reminds that since 2014 rubber balls are banned in Catalonia and condemns and refuses their use.

In the third place, the institution investigates whether the Spanish National Police and the Spanish Civil Guard properly accredited the court warrant to make entries and searches. Likewise, it will assess whether the damage caused to educational centers and other public establishments has been the minimum indispensable. According to the Catalan Ombudsman, it will be necessary to see if these seizures exceeded the judicial mandate of "seizing all the material related to the referendum".

-        Finally, the Catalan Ombudsman is analyzing the role played by the PG-ME, as well as the distribution of competences between the different security forces, in accordance with the constitutional provisions, as it has been advanced in other reports of this institution

Rafael Ribó, before calling for dialogue and the use of democratic instruments to reach an understanding, has been very concerned about the use of the force in police action: "Since the year 76, in a rally in favor of the amnesty, I had not seen anything like this, he said.

The Ombudsman will forward all these considerations to the Ombudsman and the Spanish Minister of Internal Affairs. It will also inform the European Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Ombudsman, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the President of the International Ombudsman Institute and the regional ombudsmen.