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The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, overseen by the United Nations Human Rights Council, has released an opinion on the pretrial detention of Catalan leaders Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart concluding it to have been arbitrary and calling on the Spanish government to "adopt the necessary measures to remedy the situation [...] without delay". They go on to suggest that "the appropriate remedy would be to immediately release" the three.

The report finds that their imprisonment without bail violates international rules, including parts of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Besides being released, the group says the three should be "conceded the right [to] compensation" and that the government should "carry out an exhaustive and independent investigation [...] and adopt the appropriate measures against those responsible for the violation of their rights".

The findings come over a year after British lawyer Ben Emmerson, former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism, took the case to the working group. Their findings are set out in a 17-page document approved on 25th April, sent to the Spanish permanent representative to the UN on 27th May with a cover letter signed by José Guevara Bermúdez, the working group's Chair-Rapporteur.

The filing

In February 2018, Emmerson announced the appeal to the working group, describing the situation as a ""classic case of arbitrary political detention". He said that "their detention and continued imprisonment is an affront to human rights" and that "the actions of the Spanish government set a dangerous precedent for the rights to peaceful protest and political opposition around the world".

He also announced that Joaquim Forn, the other political leader in jail at that point, was not party to the application at his own personal decision.