Case 02

Joan Badia

A mayor was battered and thrown to the ground and later on accused of violent behaviour

The 66-year-old mayor of a small town, Callús (population 2.000) was assaulted by a Spanish Civil Guard policeman while he was talking to their commanding officer about the tense situation created by the Spanish police forces on the 1st of October Referendum. Later, he was summoned by the nearest court, on charges of having assaulted members of the law enforcement agencies.


Joan Badia lodged a complaint with Catalan police against Guardia Civil (Spanish police) for assault, damages and theft (they took his laptop). Joan still doesn’t have the judicial response to his complaint, but a judge from Manresa decided to open an investigation on him and two other people of the region, accusing them of disobedience.

On 2 February 2018, the mayor appeared in Manresa Court No. 2 on a supposed disobedience offence to Guardia Civil. About 200 people accompanied and supported him.
Finally, the investigation was dismissed because the prosecuting authorities didn’t find evidences to accuse Joan Badia and they explained that the version of the events was confusing.

Badia lodged a complaint against Guardia Civil’s intervention in his town. Nevertheless, the judge holding office in Court No. 2 decided to order a preliminary investigation, when seeing that he had accepted responsibility for the sit-in at the polling station school Joventut in Callús when the Guardia Civil was getting ready to enter and remove the ballot boxes.

Several mayors who were in front of all the people gathered at the schools to vote, were assaulted by the military police forces (Guardia Civil) when they were trying to talk to them as civil authority representatives. These same mayors have been later accused by the Guardia Civil, so their complaints for being assaulted are waiting for the preliminary investigations opened by the corresponding judges.


As other mayors in small towns of Catalonia, Mr. Badia intended to take up a mediating role between the gatherings of citizens wanting to defend the polling stations during the 1st October 2017 Referendum and Spanish police agents. As two other mayors and a city hall councillor, of his area (the area of Bages) he was to encounter physical violence against him and later on a summons accusing him of disobedience.

The outcome

In this case, Manresa’s Court No. 2 has settled that there is no reason to prefer formal charges against the mayor. Other similar cases related with the facts that took place the 1st of October remain to be settled, while the progress of the claim that Mr. Badia lodged against the Guardia Civil for assault is also uncertain.

Spain has not launched any investigation for the facts that took place on 1 October so people are lodging claims on a personal basis against the Guardia Civil and the National Police, for their assaults against municipal authorities, old people and the citizens that were sitting in front of the schools (polling stations) in order to defend their right to vote. Each one of these claims depends on the settlement adopted by the corresponding court.

Violated laws

Right to demonstrate

Civil power above police and military power

Freedom of peaceful assembly and association (Art. 20.1 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, arts. 21, 22 and 40 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, arts. 4 and 5(ix) International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, art. 11 European Convention on Human Rights)

Right to not be subjected to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment (Art. 7 ICCPR, arts. 1, 2 and concordant Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, art. 3 European Convention on Human Rights)

No distinction for political opinion (Art. 2.2 ICCPR, art. 9 European Convention on Human Rights, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination)


– The judge  who investigated Joan Badia, forced to dismiss the case (in Catalan)

– The mayor of Callús says that the attackers have been identified thanks to cell phone videos (in Catalan):

–  People cheering the Mayor of Callús in front of the court (In Catalan):

– The judge dismissed the charges of disobedience against the Mayor of Callús for the 1 October’s Referendum (In Catalan):

– Joan Badia accuses the Guardia Civil agents of lying and refuses to testify before the judge (in Catalan):



To be added when available.

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