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Publication

Submission by Fair Trials to the United Nations Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review: Spain

35th Session of the UPR Working Group January 2020

July 29, 2019 - counter-terrorism, Freedom of Expression, UN Human Rights Council
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Ahead of the 35th session of the Human Rights Council’s Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in January 2020, Fair Trials has made a submission on how broad counter-terrorism laws are adversely impacting human rights in Spain. The ambiguous laws have led to violations of freedom of expression, and its pre-trial detention practice, often combined with the counter-terrorism legislation, violates the right to liberty. The excessive discretion that Spain’s criminal law leaves to judges fundamentally undermines the rule of law in the country.

Recommendations

  • Repeal Article 578 of the Criminal Code in line with Spain’s obligations under international human rights law to protect freedom of expression.
  • Ensure that pre-trial decisions at all stages include specific reasoning tailored to the individual case to ensure judges engage with the personal circumstances of the defendant.
  • The law must provide for more alternative measures to pre-trial detention, and to ensure their use in practice, the Ministry of Justice should take responsibility for ensuring robust accountability mechanisms are put in place that record data concerning pre-trial detention decision-making processes, such as outcomes of trials, usage of alternatives and violations of bail conditions.
  • Whilst the amendment to reduce the length of investigation times is welcome, the law should be amended to include shorter maximum terms of duration of pre-trial detention, which may help accelerate investigations and pre-trial proceedings. There also needs to be meaningful review and oversight of the progress of investigations to help reduce the length of pre-trial detention periods.

Read the full submission and its recommendations here.

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.

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