The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has today condemned the sentences in the Catalan independence trial and criticised Spain's Supreme Court for its "broadly defined offences of sedition [which] unduly restrict rights of freedom of expression, assembly and association".
The Commission, an NGO formed of 60 international legal experts, works to develop national and international human rights standards through the law. "These convictions represent a serious interference with the exercise of freedom of expression, association and assembly of the leaders. The resort to the law of sedition to restrict the exercise of these rights is unnecessary, disproportionate and ultimately unjustifiable" it quotes Massimo Frigo, ICJ Europe and Central Asia Senior Legal Adviser, as saying.
They also express concern that the "Supreme Court does not comply with Spain’s obligations under international human rights law." The ICJ looks at the history of the case in the statement, noting that "the referendum was conducted despite having been declared illegal by the Constitutional Court" and that it saw "credible reports of the use of unnecessary and disproportionate force in breach of Spain’s international law obligations."
It concludes quoting Frigo again: "Interference with peaceful political expression and protest is not acceptable, save in limited circumstances where it is strictly necessary and proportionate for compelling purposes such as national security."