Catalonia: no fair trial against Cuixart, lawyer

No violence, he is prosecuted 'for human rights activism'

25 February, 21:20

    (by Gaetana D'Amico)

    ROME - The trial against Jordi Cuixart will not be fair, one of his attorneys, Olivier Peter, has told ANSA.

    ''We are hopeful but we doubt that justice can be done'', according to Peter, who is on the defense team of Cuixart, the president of separatist Catalan organization Omium Cultural.

    Cuixart has been in preventive custody since October 2017 after a referendum on Catalonia's independence.

    On Tuesday morning, Cuixart will testify at a trial in which he is a defendant together with another 11 separatist leaders.

    He is charged with rebellion and sedition in connection with a pro-independence demonstration on September 20, 2017, and a referendum on independence on October 1. He risks a sentence of up to 30 years in jail.

    ''It is clearly a political trial'', said Peter. ''There have already been so many violations that the procedure is flawed. Moreover, the duration of hearings, the refusal to hear all the witnesses we have requested, the fact that, with the trial that has started, we still have no access to evidence, all these elements confirm that the procedure has clearly not been respected''.

    According to the attorney, Madrid has a ''contradictory'' attitude. He explained: ''Under Spanish legislation, the charges of rebellion and sedition imply a degree of violence that certainly did not occur in demonstrations and the referendum.

    Therefore, they cannot be punishable. If they implement Spanish law, they must acquit them''. If this won't happen, the lawyer said, the team will take the case to the European Court of human Rights, which the attorney believes would condemn Spain.

    Meanwhile, main human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Front Line Defenders, have requested to withdraw the charges against Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez, another separatist leader. ''There is clearly at an international level, and it will increase further in the upcoming future, a condemnation of this procedure by several human rights organizations'', said the lawyer.

    Front Line Defenders, the winner of a UN prize in 2018 as association of the year, has recognized Jordi, the only one among 12 defendants, as a human rights activist who is being persecuted for his work to defend civil rights.

    ''Symbolically, it is very important because it demonstrates that the role is not political. If Europe accepts that a promoter of human rights is jailed for peaceful demonstrations, this decision could have a huge impact because it would legitimize prison for people who demonstrate'', said the lawyer.

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