Journalists Assaulted in Catalonia

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Year 04 Oct 2017 Country Spain Category Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Unknown Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 1
04 Oct 2017 Spain Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Unknown EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , Index , RSF Level 1
No state reply yet

Several journalists were the targets of attacks while covering events in the wake of the Catalan referendum on self-determination held on 1 October 2017. On 2 October, press photographer Jordi Borràs was assaulted by a Spanish gendarmerie officer (Guardia Civil), who tried to snatch his camera from his hands while he was covering a demonstration in Calella for the information website "El Món". On 3 October, Ana Cuesta Herráiz, a journalist working for the private channel La Sexta, was also subjected to threats and insults by demonstrators who accused her of "manipulation" as she was covering the events, in Calella. The Catalan police force (Mossos d'Esquadra) had to ensure her safety against the demonstrators. On the same day, another La Sexta journalist, Guiomar Roglán, had to be evacuated out of the Catalan parliament by the Barcelona Urban Guard and the Catalan police force (Mossos d'Esquadra), as hundreds of demonstrators, gathered in front of the Parliament, were insulting and threatening her. On 3 October, journalist Jesús Badenes of the Catalan daily "Diari de Girona" was reporting on the general strike by filming a picket line in Salt. He had to be hospitalised after being violently hit on the head by an unidentified person who was upset with being filmed. The strikers stated that the aggressor was not one of them. The Catalan police have opened an investigation.

Updates

05 Oct 2017 : On 3 October 2017, besides Guiomar Roglán, other journalists from La Sexta, including Antonio García Ferreras, had to be evacuated out of the Catalan parliament by the Barcelona Urban Guard and the Catalan police force (Mossos d'Esquadra), as pro-independence demonstrators, gathered in front of the Parliament, were insulting and threatening people them.

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20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Mehmet Altan’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Altan’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Altan’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.

20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Şahin Alpay’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Alpay’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 46 (binding force and execution of judgments) of the Convention, the Court held that it was incumbent on the respondent State to ensure the termination of Mr Alpay’s pre-tria detention at the earliest possible date. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Alpay’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.
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