18th August 2019
International Trial Watch
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Observers seek to attend Catalan trial, ‘televised live’

International Trial Watch (ITW), a platform for human rights organisations, said on Tuesday in Madrid that at least 13 Catalan, Spanish and European groups intend to send international observers to follow the upcoming Catalan independence trial.

Spain’s Supreme Court has yet to respond to the request for places in the courtroom, but Spain’s public prosecutor, María José Segarra, has already insisted that there is no need for international observers at the trial as it will be ‘televised live’.

International Trial Watch
Members of the International Trial Watch platform (Roger Pi de Cabanyes / via ACN)

‘A trial taking place within Spain’s judiciary is absolutely respectful towards the guarantees of everyone and offers a live broadcast … It’s hard to offer more transparency than that,’ she added.

ALSO READ: Jailed leaders to defend ‘legitimacy’ of referendum

ITW’s representative, Robert Sabata, pointed out in the press conference that the organisations have never championed the right to self-determination, and that their presence will guarantee the trial’s ‘democratic hygiene’.

‘Great care must be taken when human rights are at play because political degradation can happen very quickly,’ he said.

ALSO READ: Court wants jailed leaders transferred to Madrid

The platform also pointed out that during the pre-trial phase it had detected elements that could call the trial’s integrity into question, such as continuous leaks of pertinent information before the defense teams knew about its content.

According to the initiative’s coordinator, Alejandro Gámez, the trial is ‘one step in the civil conflict’ and it is ‘fundamental’ that there be international observers present.

ALSO READ: Mariano Rajoy to be called as witness in Catalan trial

In total, nine people are in pre-trial jail for their role in Catalonia’s push for independence, including six former ministers, two activists, and the former parliament speaker that allowed a vote on independence to take place.

The public prosecutor has requested a joint total 177 years prison sentence, including 25 years for Oriol Junqueras, the highest individual proposed sentence.

The sensitive trial will start more than a year after Catalan leaders in the northeastern region attempted to break away from Spain in October 2017 by staging the referendum despite a court ban.

They subsequently proclaimed independence but Spain’s then conservative government moved swiftly to depose the Catalan executive, dissolve the regional parliament and call snap local elections in December.

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