BHRC publishes trial observation notes from Catalan Referendum case

Home » Posts » BHRC publishes trial observation notes from Catalan Referendum case

The Accused (Photo from El Pais, EMILIO NARANJO GTRES)

The Bar Human Rights Committee has published the formal trial observation notes from its observations at the Catalan Referendum Trial in February 2019.

The observations of the hearing of the 12 former members of the Catalan government took place from 19 to 20 February at the Supreme Court Madrid on Tuesday 19 and Wednesday 20 February. The observation was conducted by Professor Bill Bowring, an Executive Committee member of BHRC and President of the European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH).

The report raised concern that, while the hearings observed were conducted correctly by the 7 judges, the nature of the offences charged as well as the simultaneous prosecution by the Public Prosecution Ministry, by the Solicitor General of the State, and by VOX, the recently established far-right political party, “tends to undermine the right of the accused to a fair trial.”

In the report, Professor Bowring stated “such vague, broadly defined offences of rebellion and sedition, carrying lengthy terms of imprisonment,  risks violation of the principle of legality, as well as amounting to an arbitrary and disproportionate interference with human rights, especially freedom of expression and freedom of assembly (Article 10 and 11 ECHR)”

The full trial observation note is available here.

You can read coverage of Professor Bowring’s observations in the Catalan News here.


We rely on membership subscriptions and individual donations to fund our ongoing work around the world.

Alaa is a British citizen imprisoned in Egypt on trumped-up charges. For two & a half years he has had no access to books, newspapers or sunlight. He urgently needs UK consular support. Write to your MP to help #FreeAlaa & bring him home to his family:

Our urgent action letter requesting the UK govt closely monitors the Israeli authorities' investigation into the fatal shooting of Al Jazeera journalist #ShireenAbuAqla. It is imperative that there is full legal accountability for this alarming incident