The UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Diego García-Sayán, has expressed his "concern about the alleged attacks" against lawyer Gonzalo Boye.
García-Sayán says that lawyers must be able to work "free of influence, pressure or political or government control". He calls for Spanish authorities to "create proper conditions for the free exercise of the legal profession".
I share the concern about the alleged attacks against @boye_g. The exercise of the profession must be free of influence, pressure or political or governmental control. I urge the authorities of #Spain to create proper conditions for the free exercise of the legal profession. https://t.co/RQKU0jPIlZ— Diego García-Sayán (@UNIndepJudges) October 22, 2019
Boye, who counts Catalan presidents Carles Puigdemont and Quim Torra among his clients, has been summonsed to appear in the National Audience in Madrid tomorrow over accusations of money laundering relating to drug trafficking. Spanish police officers yesterday searched both his home and office.
García-Sayán has been both justice and foreign affairs minister of Peru. Until 2013, he was a sitting judge on the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, being its president 2010-2012. He was appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers in December 2016.
His message today was in response to a tweet from barrister Jen Robinson, a specialist in media law, public law and international law who has been admitted to practice in England and Wales and in Australia, in which she says she is "concerned to heart of [Boye's] targeting" because of his work "representing the independence movement of Catalonia". She links to a statement from the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), of which she is a member of the board and Boye is a partner lawyer.
The ECCHR yesterday said that "in our assessment [the National Audience's action] is based on the assumed identification of Mr. Boye with his clients’ cause, the Catalan independence movement" and that they believe "the search was conducted under a false pretext and with the aim of discrediting Mr Boye as a lawyer."