The case of journalist Pablo González reaches the United Nations Group on Forced Disappearances

the wife of journalist Pablo GonzalezOhaina Goiriena, and mother of three children together, has submitted a request to the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (OHCHR) to study the “arbitrary” detention of the journalist, imprisoned since February 28 in Poland while covering the humanitarian crisis unleashed by the war in Ukraine.

The lawyer Gonzalo BoyePablo González’s lawyer, whom the Polish authorities do not allow to visit in prison or deal with the Polish lawyer who represents the journalist in Poland on matters related to his defense or the charges against him, has drafted the request, to which he has had access Publicin which argues the reasons why the case is the responsibility of this United Nations working groupdedicated to helping the relatives of the disappeared and acting as an intermediary with the denounced governments, from whom it asks for explanations.

This is the first legal initiative outside the Polish procedure initiated by the reporter’s family, of Russian-Spanish nationality and based in Euskadi. An expert on the post-Soviet scene, a political scientist as well as a journalist, Pablo González was arrested in Poland accused of carrying out espionage activities for Russia. Precisely this Wednesday marks the fifth month of his arrest.

In the first place, the document that has reached the United Nations enumerates the reasons why the arrest of Pablo González, a collaborator of Public, was arbitrary. This point is essential so that the OHCHR can intervene in the case. According to Ohaina Goiriena’s lawyer, González’s detention fits into five categories established by the United Nations to decree a forced detention.

One of those categories is based on the discrimination based on birth, national originethnic or social background, language, religion, economic status, political or other opinion, gender, sexual orientation,
disability or other condition. And in that category would be the case of the journalist Pablo González.

Discrimination based on nationality

“The Polish authorities proceeded to arrest Mr. González based exclusively and without any further support -or at least, without duly explaining it-, on the alleged irregularity relating to “double identity” of our represented product of its Spanish and Russian dual nationality. As a consequence of this allegedly “illegal” condition -when it is not, because it is duly accredited and legally recognized by Spain and Russia-, Mr. González Yagüe was linked without any support in alleged espionage activities”, the document states.

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has established that the
detention of a person based on discriminatory grounds based on their nationality results in a violation of articles 2 and 7 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of the
articles 2, paragraph 1, and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Violation of rights

Gonzalo Boye’s writing highlights the violation of numerous international rights by the Polish authorities. The right to the presumption of innocence, the right to a defense and to be heard by an independent tribunal are some of the most significant. “The deprivation of rights suffered by Mr. González Yagüe goes beyond arbitrary detention, he is in a material incommunicado situation“, stated in the letter, which also informs that the journalist “is not authorized to make or receive communications from his family or from his freely appointed lawyer who is the one who signs this referral.”

Category I of those established by the Arbitrary Detention Working Group establishes thatThe deprivation of liberty will be arbitrary when
impossible to invoke legal basis that justifies it
. In this sense, the request of the wife of Pablo González indicates that “the reasons for the arrest have not been indicated beyond a brief reference to an investigation into an alleged crime of espionage; due access has not been guaranteed
to the respective judicial file; far from it, the detainee has been allowed to be assisted and interviewed by the lawyer of his choice “.

“It is only intended legalize decisions that are arbitrarypolitically oriented and who bring their cause in a context
general violator of human rights”, indicates the letter.

He was arrested for being a journalist

It also highlights that the journalist “was not arrested for committing a flagrant crime, in order to provide some minimal justification
reasonable -which there is not- about the way in which he was apprehended, nor is it noticed in the case that the Polish authorities have indicated, well-founded -and not concisely-, what were the legal reasons for his arrest.
his detention.”

In the case at hand, it is a journalistperfectly known and accredited as such, and, His arrest is based precisely on
the legitimate exercise of his work as an informer”.
The letter denounces that González is being illegitimately deprived of exercising his profession, “preventing him from reporting on current events” in relation to the armed conflict.

Absence of a guarantee process

The brief received by the United Nations explains that “the right to a process with due guarantees has been violated, including the right to defense, as well as the right to personal liberty and, especially, the principle of legality and penal strictness for , forcing it, giving the appearance of
legality to something that is eminently arbitrary”, reasons attorney Boye in his request.

“Here we are before an agreed arrest – presumably – by the Polish intelligence services in collusion with the Prosecutor’s Office of that country and
that, subsequently and always according to information appearing in the media, would have been ratified by some judicial authority
the legal bases of the same are unknown”, he insists and assures that the Polish authorities do not fit into what would be defined as an “independent and impartial” court.

In prison for the shortest time possible

Another of the highlighted factors is the long period of provisional prison that Pablo González is suffering: he has been in prison for five months and could be extended up to a year. “It is an established rule of international law that preventive detention should be the exception and not the ruleand which should be sorted by the
shortest time possible.”

In this sense, the writing emphasizes the fallaciousness of the Polish argument that Pablo González used as a cover for his espionage work his journalist status. “All professional and informative activity
of Mr. González Yagüe was not only transparent, but also has public and published and, as has been said and proven, at all times it has been known his informative and anti-war approaches which are incompatible with the fallacious accusations made by the Polish authorities”.

The intervention of the United Nations in the case could unravel the procedural situation of Pablo González and alleviate the suffering of his family, who have not yet been able to visit him in prison, after the bureaucratic excuses imposed by Poland.

The request includes twenty documents proving the behavior of the Polish Prosecutor’s Office in the sense of hindering communication between Pablo and his family and his lawyer of choice, Gonzalo Boye. The Polish lawyer who represents him has informed Ohaina Goiriena that he cannot discuss with her any aspect related to the charges that Pablo is charged with because he is prohibited by her legislation.


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