A TEAM of international observers has said the Spanish Supreme Court trial of Catalan independence leaders was a massive “violation of human rights”.

In its final report on the trial judgement – which saw nine leaders being sentenced to 100 years in jail – International Trial Watch (ITW) said it violated their rights to the principle of criminal legality, liberty, freedom of expression, ideology, peaceful assembly and political participation.

More than 60 observers from 17 countries monitored the trial of politicians and civic leaders over their role in the October 2017 Catalan independence referendum.

Their final report, published yesterday, concluded: “It is a clearly ideological resolution aimed at replacing the political solution that is needed in the conflict in Catalonia.”

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They said the penalties imposed for the crime of sedition – between nine to 13 years’ imprisonment – “violate the principle of legality in criminal law”.

The report said: “The judgement disregards the concept of uprising as devised by the Court’s own case law, replacing it with the concept ‘tumultuous disobedience, collective and together with resistance or force’.”

It said that as it has not been possible to prove an uprising or disruption of pubic order aimed at preventing laws being enforced or the exercise of public duties, “the use of the crime of sedition is unreasonable, unpredictable and violates the fundamental right to legality in criminal law”.

The report added: “By doing so, there is also a direct violation of the right to liberty of all the convicts – to almost 100 years’ imprisonment – for the (unproved) act of committing the crime of sedition … Any earnest attempt at interpreting the judgement based on technical and legal concepts, such as sedition, uprising, violence or fundamental right becomes unsuccessful.

“The reason is surely because it is a clearly ideological resolution aimed at replacing the political solution that is needed in the conflict in Catalonia.”

Robert Sabata, president of European Democratic Lawyers, told the Catalan News Agency (ACN) “there have been very clear violations” of the right to a fair trial, starting with its location in Madrid.

He said it, “should have taken place in Catalonia because the facts had no effect on the rest of Spain”.

Sabata said the court made an “expansive interpretation” of its jurisdiction and violated the right to “second instance”, the right to appeal against conviction. Defence witnesses were disregarded by the court and asked for their political ideologies, while similar questions from the defence were not allowed.

He said: “Basically the judges were not a third party, but an interested party and there are serious doubts about their impartiality.”