Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe, has described as "excessive and disproportionate" the extension of Jordi Sànchez's preventive detention, which restricts "his right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly". Van Gulik was speaking after the refusal by a judge on Spain's Supreme Court, Pablo Llarena, to allow Sànchez to leave custody, even on bail, believing that he retains the ideology which could lead to him reoffending. The Amnesty International official expressed her regret that the judge has decided to "exacerbate" the "injustice" of the imprisonment and called for Sànchez to be released "immediately". The body also opined that today's verdict "doesn't offer new elements which justify the prolonging of preventive detention". Likewise, they believe that the charges of sedition and rebellion against Sànchez and the president of Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart, are "unjustified and, as such, have to be withdrawn".
Van Gulik emphasised "although calling protests to obstruct legitimate police operations can be, if proved, a punishable offence against public order, it doesn't constitute a serious crime like sedition or rebellion, punished with sentences of up to 10 and 30 years" in prison.
Whilst Amnesty does not question the Constitutional Court's 7th September decision to suspend, as a precautionary measure, the law for the Catalan referendum, they do believe that as individual citizens and presidents of civil society organisations when the events under investigation took place, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart "had the right to express opinions against the Court's decision, as well as to organise peaceful meetings in support of the referendum and the independence of Catalonia".
Finally, the organisation recalls that although international human rights law allows states to impose certain restrictions on the exercise of the right to freedom of speech with specific legitimate aims, like protecting public order or national security, it also "requires authorities to demonstrate that these restrictions are necessary and proportionate to the objective". In this case, however, they believe that the presentation of serious criminal charges against those who organise such meetings "is an excessive and disproportionate measure".