The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday found Spain violated European privacy rights by publishing the names and photos of judges who supported Catalan independence. The ECHR found Spain guilty under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 8 protects individual privacy.
According to the judgment, Spain violated Article 8 in three ways. First, the police created a report on the judges “without any legal justification.” Second, Spain leaked the police reports to the press. Finally, the Spanish newspaper La Razón published an article with the information. La Razón’s article was based on a manifesto signed by over 20 judges. The manifesto defended Catalonia’s sovereignty rights.
Many in Catalonia—a region in northeastern Spain—have called for independence because of Catalonia’s unique history, culture, and language. Catalonia held a referendum in 2014 to vote for independence in which over 80 percent of ballots were cast in favor. However, the referendum was non-binding. In 2017, Catalan held another referendum with 90 percent of voters supporting independence, amidst an opposition boycott. However, the Spanish government refused to recognize the results. Back in April, Spain was accused of spying on Catalan lawmakers as calls for independence reemerged.
The ECHR ruled that Spain must pay €4,200 in damages to each judge and an additional €3,993 to each judge to cover legal expenses.