Amnesty International warned that Spain’s prosecutor and the Ministry of Interior “are obstructing” investigations about the Spanish police intervention in Catalonia on October 1, which aimed to stop the referendum on independence from taking place and left 1,066 people injured.

In the report “October 1 [referendum day] in Catalonia: obstacles to the investigation of the excessive use of force” the human rights NGO accuses Spain’s prosecutor of being disinterested in assessing what happened on referendum day. This would “contravene its role as the promoter of investigation” hindering the judicial process.

Misuse of force

Last October, Amnesty called on Spain to “urgently launch a thorough, immediate and impartial investigation into the excessive and disproportionate use of force by members of the National Police and Civil Guard.” The human rights organization said that “the misuse of force by law enforcement officers must be treated as a crime.”

Amnesty urges the prosecutor to “radically” change its attitude and assume a proactive role in the ongoing proceedings—especially in relation to the most serious cases under investigation. Amnesty International also criticizes the lack of internal investigations by the Ministry of Interior, responsible for the police operation.

The organization also decries the use of riot control equipment by police officers, such as rubber bullets. “Due to their lack of accuracy, they can cause serious injuries and pose a serious threat to people’s lives and bodily integrity” reads the report.

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