The ECHR condemns Spain for signing judges favorable to the referendum in Catalonia


The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) condemned Spain on Tuesday for some controversial “police reports”, which were leaked to the press, with information from several judges who in 2014 were in favor of an independence referendum in Catalonia.

“The mere existence” of these reports has “no legal basis”, estimates the pan-European court, which points out that the investigation into the leak was “insufficient”, since the Barcelona police chief, a “key person”, was not questioned. “.

In February 2014, 33 judges from this region published a manifesto stating that under the Spanish Constitution and international law, the Catalan population had the “right to decide” on Catalonia’s independence from Spain.

Weeks later, the Spanish newspaper La Razón published an article entitled “The conspiracy of the 33 sovereignist judges”, which included “personal information and photos” of the magistrates, from the police database, explains the ECHR.

The judges denounced the facts, but the Spanish justice dismissed it. They also unsuccessfully brought the leaks to the Data Protection Agency, and the National High Court opened an investigation, “which seems to be still pending,” stresses the Strasbourg court.

Twenty of the 33 judges brought the case before the ECHR in April 2017, estimating that the police filed them “unjustifiably” and used the photos in their possession, which then ended up in the press.

The magistrates also denounced the disciplinary proceedings opened against him and the “insufficient” investigation carried out on his accusations.

Spain will have to pay around 8,200 euros ($8,600) to each of the complainants for moral damages and costs, for violating article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights on the protection of private life.

In 2014, Catalonia held a symbolic consultation on its secession from Spain, almost three years before the referendum of October 1, 2017, prohibited by the Spanish justice system and which plunged the country into a political crisis.

Most members of the then regional government were arrested, tried, sentenced to up to 13 years in prison and later pardoned for these acts, except for those who fled to Belgium, including its leader and current MEP Carles Puigdemont.