International observers criticise the Public Prosecutor's "leading" questionsMembers of International Trial Watch feel that "the organising and participation in mass protests is being criminalised"
Josep Maria Camps
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.
ATENCIÓ‼️[Obrim fil👇] International Trial Watch (@InterTrialWatch) 25 de febrer de 2019
Valoracions de la segona setmana d' @InterTrialWatch:
➡️El segon de dia de vista els acusats presos van estar al Tribunal des d'aproximadament les 8h del matí fins a les 22.30h, hora en què va acabar l'interrogatori. pic.twitter.com/oISrDk4Vd9
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.
- Catalan independence trial