CATALONIA’s human rights ombudsman, Rafael Ribó, has asked the Council of Europe to send observers to the forthcoming trials of Catalan politicians and pro-independence leaders.

Ribó, who is also the European president of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI), was in Strasbourg to meet Thorbjørn Jagland, secretary-general of the council and the European Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatoviç.

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He delivered a report on the events surrounding last October’s referendum, including the violence of the Spanish state police, and the more general political situation in Catalonia.

Ribó reminded them of “the need to demand from the Spanish government the report already committed on the police action of October 1”.

There are nine political prisoners in Catalan jails and others, including former president Carles Puigdemont and ex-education minister Clara Ponsati, are in exile in countries across Europe.

Ribó’s call came as Spain’s attorney general confirmed that prosecutors will present charges against the accused to the Supreme Court tomorrow.

María José Segarra said that although authorities had until Monday to submit the documentation, she had decided to do it on Friday.

There will be 18 prosecutions, including the political prisoners – who are accused of rebellion, which can carry a sentence of 30 years imprisonment – along with the former head of the Catalan police (Mossos d’Esquadra) Josep Lluís Trapero, his assistant and two former senior officers.

Meanwhile, Catalan rapper Valtònyc has lodged a lawsuit against Spain at the European Court of Human Rights (EHCR), alleging that it had breached his right to freedom of expression.

Valtònyc, whose real name is Josep Miquel Arenas, was sentenced to more than three years in prison for song lyrics that allegedly insulted King Felipe and incited terrorism.

The Strasbourg court will first have to decide if the claim is admissible and, if so, whether Spain had violated his right to freedom of expression.

Valtònyc fled Spain after his sentence was passed and is now exiled in Belgium.

In a continuing case, a Ghent court rejected a European arrest warrant issued by Spain because his lyrics would not constitute a crime there.

Another Belgian judge had previously ruled out his automatic extradition for inciting terrorism.