Call to action circulated by Irídia (Centro de Defensa de Derecho Humanos) on 11/04/2024.

Dear colleagues,

We are addressing you in order to bring attention to the case of Mr. Jesús Rodríguez Sellés, a journalist from La Directa who was forced to go into exile due to the lack of guarantees for practising his profession and the threat of arbitrary arrest.

The Spanish authorities are using legal proceedings and police investigations to intimidate and discourage people from taking part in peaceful actions, as well as to silence an outlet that is critical of those in power, such as La Directa.

Mr. Rodríguez is a journalist under investigation by the Spanish authorities on charges of terrorism in connection with his alleged participation in the Tsunami Democràtic movement in Catalonia. These charges are a direct attack on the right to information, not only for his work, but for the profession as a whole.

Knowing that neither his work as a journalist nor his rights or himself are safe in the country, he has decided to go into exile and leave Spain. He is currently in Geneva, where he is determined to defend his case more vigorously and to respond to the accusations of terrorism. Exile is the only mechanism available to Mr. Rodríguez to continue his work as a journalist, in the knowledge that exile is also a mechanism for struggle and for presenting his case.


Jesús Rodríguez Sellés is a journalist based in Barcelona and member of the editorial board of the news media outlet, La DirectaLa Directa is an award-winning Catalan-language media which focuses on current affairs, research, debate and analysis, internally organized as a labor cooperative. Its goal, since the outlet was founded in 2006, is to inform on what is ongoing in the world, from a non-conformist point of view, aiming to contribute to social transformation by denouncing abuses and injustices and promoting viable and positive alternatives. As a journalist in La Directa, Mr. Rodríguez Sellés has a long and distinguished track record of reporting on social, cultural and political movements (often overlooked by more traditional media outlets) such as environmental, housing rights or labor movements. From his professional standing, always exercised with honesty, he has denounced abuses committed by members of State security forces (both the Catalan and the Spanish police), cases of institutional discrimination and violations of collective rights, among other issues.

It is safe to say that Mr. Rodríguez Sellés is one of the most renown Catalan journalists for reporting on police abuse, to the point that he has even been a victim of them: in 2016 he was assaulted by a riot police officer while covering a demonstration. The Provincial Court in Barcelona sentenced the police officer who assaulted him to 2 years in prison and the Catalan Regional Supreme Court confirmed the sentencing. The appeal is currently pending in the Spanish Supreme Court. Recently, Mr. Rodríguez Sellés and another journalist have filed a criminal complaint against two police officers who testified in his trial for perjury or lying under oath. This complaint has been admitted by a Judge in Barcelona and there is an ongoing criminal investigation.

In addition, in the years 2022 and 2023, he uncovered (alongside other journalists of La Directaseveral cases of police infiltration in nonviolent social movements in Barcelona, Valencia, Girona and Madrid. This investigation received the Ramon Barnils prize for investigative reporting in November of 2023. In 2019, he was also awarded the ‘Ciutat de Barcelona’ prize by the city’s local government for his report in La Directa on wastewater management in Barcelona.


Tsunami Democràtic was a Catalan civil society movement created to organize and coordinate the citizens’ response to the Spanish Supreme Court’s ruling (which took place in October of 2019) which resulted in the conviction of the promoters of the Catalan referendum of 2017. It was launched in September of 2019 alongside a manifesto promoting self-determination and the defense of collective and individual rights through civil disobedience and non-violence. The movement organized a wide range of protests spanning from posting billboards, to roadblocks and rallies at the Barcelona Airport.

As a journalist, Mr. Rodríguez Sellés covered the protests carried out by the Tsunami Democràtic movement. He also reported on the economic cost of the police mobilization which was carried out in order to put an end to the protests that took place in the fall of 2019. Despite the fact that the Spanish police and the National Court are aware of his status as a journalist, they are currently charging Mr. Rodríguez Sellés with being one of the organizers of the protests because he was allegedly in contact with some of the presumed promoters of the rallies and was privy to confidential information on the events. As a result, he is currently a suspect in a very serious crime of terrorism and has been summoned for questioning by the Investigating Judge of the National Court, which could compromise his professional obligation not to reveal information about his sources.

We believe these extremely serious charges undermine the rule of law in Spain and could potentially breach Mr. Rodríguez’s rights under the European Convention of Human Rights: right to a fair trial (article 6), liberty, should a pretrial detention take place (article 5), no punishment without law (article 7), freedom of thought (article 9), freedom of assembly (article 11), limitation of restrictions on rights and the ban of using the law for political purposes (article 18) and, most of all, freedom of expression and the right to receive and give information (article 10).


We ask you to take a public stand to denounce the violation of Mr. Rodríguez rights as a journalist and to show your support according to the possibilities, tools and channels available to the organisation. We also ask you to monitor or report on upcoming events in the case in order to prevent any abuse of power and to achieve the protection of Mr. Rodríguez.

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