|Born||Jordi Cuixart i Navarro|
22 April 1975
Santa Perpètua de Mogoda, Spain
|Known for||President of the Òmnium Cultural|
Jordi Cuixart i Navarro (Santa Perpètua de Mogoda, province of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, 1975) is a Catalan businessman and political and cultural activist. He is the president of Òmnium Cultural, a non-profit cultural organisation founded in 1961 with around 119,000 members and 40 local branches in Catalonia. As part of his role in the pro-independence demonstrations prior to the Catalan independence referendum of 2017, he has been imprisoned since October of 2017 under charges of sedition and violent rebellion brought by the Spanish prosecutor's office. Amnesty International believes his detention constitutes a disproportionate restriction on his rights to free speech and peaceful assembly, and urges Spain to free him.
Cuixart was born in 1975 in Santa Perpètua de Mogoda. His mother hailed from Murcia and his father from Badalona. He lived in Santa Perpètua de Mogoda for 30 years before moving to Sabadell, where he remained until his imprisonment in 2017.
He joined Òmnium Cultural in 1996. In addition, he is a member of different social organisations, such as Can Capablanca, a pro-Catalan independence social centre in Sabadell, the cooperative financial institution Coop 57, and Amnesty International. He was an objector to Spanish military service.
As a businessman, Cuixart is the founder and president of Aranow, a company that exports packaging machinery. He is co-founder and chairman of FemCAT, a private foundation of Catalan businesspeople.
Activism in Òmnium Cultural
He became the treasurer and later vice-president of Òmnium Cultural as an associate to Muriel Casals, who first became Òmnium's president in 2010 and was re-elected to the post in 2014. Under Casals' leadership, Òmnium Cultural's original focus in Catalan culture broadened to include the promotion of self-determination and Catalan independence. Jordi Cuixart succeeded Muriel Casals as president of Òmnium in December 2015, after she stepped down in July of that year to stand in the forthcoming Catalan election (in the meantime, the organisation was headed by Quim Torra as interim president).
As president of Òmnium Cultural, Cuixart continued the organisation's involvement in the political developments leading to the Catalan independence referendum of 2017.
On 16 October 2017, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez were preventively jailed after the state attorney's accusation of sedition, a felony regulated by the article 544 and subsequents of the Spanish Criminal Code.
This sedition was allegedly committed when they organized massive protests on 20 September 2017 during Operation Anubis police raids to dismantle the framework of the 1 October Catalan independence referendum performed by the Spanish Civil Guard. They were accused of leading the protest of tens of thousands of people that surrounded the Catalan economy department heeding a call made by Òmnium Cultural and ANC. The investigating judge stated that the leaders did not call for "peaceful demonstration but to the protection of Catalan officials through 'massive citizens' mobilisations" and that Sànchez, on top of a vehicle, encouraged the demonstrators with expressions such as "no one goes home, it will be a long and intense night". Footage from that night, however, shows Cuixart and Sànchez calling off the protests at 23.00. A sentence of sedition can carry up to 15 years in prison.
Exiled Catalan former President Carles Puigdemont and the European Free Alliance referred to Sànchez and Cuixart as "political prisoners". The Spanish Justice Minister Rafael Catalá argued that they were not "political prisoners" but "imprisoned politicians".
Amnesty International issued an official statement considering the charge of sedition and the preventive imprisonment "excessive" and called for their immediate release, but several days later made it clear that it does not consider them "political prisoners".
Amnesty International calls on Spanish authorities to drop the charges of sedition and to put an immediate end to their pre-trial detention.— Amnesty International
Since then, there have been several demonstrations and concentrations asking for their release. On 19 October, 200,000 people with candles gathered in Avinguda Diagonal, Barcelona and on 21 October, 450,000 joined in Passeig de Gràcia to protest against their imprisonment. Another demonstration took place on 11 November, after the imprisonment of some members of the Catalan government, and 750,000 people congregated according to Barcelona city police.
On 7 March 2018 the High Commissioner of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reminded Spanish authorities that "pre-trial detention should be considered a measure of last resort" referring to Catalan politicians and activists arrested after the independence referendum. On 8 August 2018, PEN International made another statement asking Spanish authorities to release Cuixart and Sànchez and considered their detentions to be "an excessive and disproportionate restriction on their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly".
On July 2018, Cuixart was transferred to a prison in Catalonia.
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Article 544. Seditionists are those who, without being included in the crime of rebellion, rise publicly and tumultually to prevent, by force or outside legal channels, the application of the Laws or any authority, official corporation or public official, the legitimate exercise of their functions or compliance with their agreements, or administrative or judicial decisions. Article 545. 1. Those who have induced, sustained or directed the sedition or appear in it as its principal authors, shall be punished with imprisonment from eight to ten years, and from ten to fifteen years, if they were persons constituted in authority. In both cases, absolute disqualification will also be imposed for the same time.
- Fotheringham, Alasdair (16 October 2017). "Catalonia: Spanish judge jails two independence leaders for possible sedition". The Independent.
An ongoing legal investigation claims Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, the leader of the ANC movement, and Mr Cuixart, who heads the Omnium Cultural association, were heavily involved in organising a massive protest aimed at hindering a Guardia Civil investigation in Barcelona into the build-up for the 1 October illegal referendum.
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