The Supreme Courts Public Prosecutors, Javier Zaragoza and Fidel Cadena, during the trial against the independence leaders (EFE)
The Supreme Courts Public Prosecutors, Javier Zaragoza and Fidel Cadena, during the trial against the independence leaders (EFE)

International observers criticise the Public Prosecutor's "leading" questions

Members of International Trial Watch feel that "the organising and participation in mass protests is being criminalised"

Josep Maria Camps Updated
Catalan independence trial

The International platform of lawyers and entities in defence of human rights are following the independence trial. International Trial Watch has published their assessment of the second week of the hearing sessions.  


In this report, the international observers valued positively that the accused weren't limited by a time-frame during their interrogations.

They also liked that the accused can sit next to their lawyers. However, they wonder why this is, seemingly, only allowed once they have already testified.

"Imprecise and leading questions"

The report goes on to criticise the lengthy sessions and especially some of the Public Prosecutor's questions, which they felt were "imprecise" and even accusing them of being "leading".

"Of special note in this regard was the interrogation of Mr. Josep Rull. Where nonexistent expressions were added to a document. (This led to some confusion)."

"Or that of Mrs. Dolors Bassa, in which she was asked about an alleged email that wasn't included in the official acts."

They also complained that the "contents of the lawsuit" had not been translated into Spanish which led to a number of misinterpretations on behalf of the Public Prosecutors.

"They are reversing the interpretative order"

Even more serious, though, are the doubts on some of the questions posed by the Public Prosecutor's and the State Attorney towards Jordi Sànchez. They claim that the questions attack "the hard core" of fundamental rights and were "especially worrying":

"The communication of protests and gatherings is being confused with requiring a supposed authority or permission (which is unconstitutional), and the organising and participation in mass protests is being criminalised."

"Ignoring, by defect, the concept of "spontaneous protests", this being internationally recognised and protected, which is an internal right. The accusations, then, are reversing the interpretive order that is constitutionally demandable when fundamental rights are at play."

The observers that attended this second week were the Canadian John Philpot, expert in International Criminal Law and with experience in courts in Rwanda and Kenya, Paul Newman, spokesman for the UN Human Rights Committee, British Bill Bowring, from England's Lawyer College of Human Rights Committee and Joaquín Urías, ex-member of the Spanish Constitutional Court.  

The observers also complained about the public seating system. They say that they are forced to queue up early in the morning to ensure a seat in the court hall.


Related interactive resource: The keys of the catalan independence trial

Catalan independence trial
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