Amnesty report criticizes Spain on human rights issues

Amnesty International's annual report critical of Spain on civil liberties, human rights. Image: AI
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► Report cites freedom of speech, refugees, evictions, excessive police force ►

Amnesty International has criticized the Spanish government’s handling of human rights on a number of fronts in the international rights group’s most-recent annual report on the state of human rights worldwide.

In its yearly Amnesty International Report 2017/18 released last week, the international human rights campaigner said it was concerned over apparent errosion of freedom of speech and assembly in Spain over the past year, particularly with regard to prosecutions of dozens of people on charges of “glorification of terrorism” and hate-speech “humiliation of victims” under Spain’s controversial Ley de Seguridad Ciudadana (Law for Citizens’ Security).

The Amnesty report also faulted the Spanish government for restrictive policies regarding refugee and immigration applicants and for having failed to meet its commitment to relocate 15,888 asylum-seekers under the EU emergency relocation scheme. It also said cited 26,767 rental evictions and 16,992 mortgage evictions last year, saying thousands had been forcibly evicted from their homes without adequate judicial safeguards or provision of alternative accommodation.

► Download PDF in English of full Amnesty International Report 2017/18 …

In Catalonia, the report said law enforcement officials used “excessive force against peacful protesters” in police operations designed to remove the protesters from polling stations during the region’s 1st October independence referendum that had been ruled unconstitutional by the courts. But, Amnesty skirted the issue of whether or not Catalan independence leaders currently held on charges related to the referendum and subsequent declaration of independence from Spain were actually “political prisoners” or “prisoners of conscience”, saying only that one of the charges against them (“sedition”) is a “broadly defined” offense.

The report expressed particular concern over the erosion of freedom of speech in Spain as a result of the broad application of the country’s three-year-old Ley de Seguridad Ciudadana. Widely referred to in Spain as the Ley Mordaza (“Gag Law”), the legislation was passed in 2015 by a majority vote of the conservative governing Partido Popular (PP) deputies in Congress.

► Read More in Spanish at La Vanguardia, El Diario and El País …

► Read More in English at El País and Euronews …

► Related Story: Are there really ‘political prisoners’ in Spain?

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