When he was remanded in custody in a Madrid prison charged with sedition on 16 October 2017, Jordi Sànchez was president of the Catalan grassroots organisation Assemblea Nacional Catalana (ANC). A month later he stood down from that role to enter an election campaign for his first time, appearing as no. 2 candidate on the Junts per Catalunya (Together for Catalonia) list for Barcelona at the 21 December 2017 election, just below no. 1 candidate, deposed president Carles Puigdemont.
Prison authorities were apparently spooked when it was reported ahead of an election rally in Barcelona last Friday that a message from Sànchez would be broadcast, so the prisoner was closely guarded on that day in case he had got hold of a mobile phone. However he had already recorded an election message which was transmitted to the crowd at that rally and at over a hundred other gatherings. His lawyer, Jordi Pina, reported that Sànchez has suffered prison sanctions in the aftermath of this campaign broadcast.
It appears that Sànchez has been moved from module 1 to module 8 of the Soto del Real prison where he has spent the last two months, which has caused upset to the Catalan leader. It is reported that his visitation and communications rights have been suspended. Pina detailed that on Friday, Sànchez’s cell and those next to it were searched for several hours because some media had stated that the audio played in the meeting was to be live and it was thought that he had a mobile phone.
In another Madrid prison, deposed Vice President Oriol Junqueras is also under investigation for an audio broadcast. Sources in the prison service say that Junqueras has admitted using a telephone call to a friend to conduct the brief interview that was played on radio station RAC1 on Monday. Junqueras has the right to talk to family members by phone, although the calls must last no longer than five minutes.
Jordi Sànchez’s election pitch recorded in prison
Transcript in English
Friends I’m speaking to you from prison. I’ve been here for more than 60 days. They accuse me of violence that everyone knows never existed. I would like to be here with you, but the prison wall prevents me.
I have never before participated in an election campaign, nor even asked for a candidate’s vote. Clearly too, I have never before been locked up in prison.
We all know that our imprisonment is unjust. As is the warrant against President Puigdemont, the application of 155 and the suspension of our government and parliament. And everyone is shaken by the reckless pillaging: the decision to move the Sixena works of art without even waiting for a firm verdict.
Yes, friends, as Salvador Espriu says, we are in the right against bastards and thieves, but it is not enough to be in the right, we have to win at the polls. We have to do it to keep moving forward and to reverse the decisions of Rajoy and his friends. We have the victory of Puigdemont within touching distance, a vote for Together for Catalonia is a vote for the dignity of a whole country.
Now we must not have President Puigdemont in the background. That he wins is the only possibility we have for him coming soon to Catalunya, returning as the legitimate President that he is. Let no-one be mistaken, the only real political adversary is Mariano Rajoy, neither Arrimadas, nor Iceta, nor Albiol should worry us.
Who has to get his filthy hands out of our government? It’s Mariano Rajoy. The rest are the useful idiots who have paid for the 155 circus, who have allowed him to pillage the works of art, who have allowed him to dismiss dozens and dozens of workers of the Generalitat.
Arrimadas, Iceta and Albiol are Rajoy’s useful idiots. The only victory Rajoy cannot hide or manipulate is the victory of President Puigdemont. So I ask for your vote for Together for Catalonia. From prison, I say that the candidates of Together for Catalonia are open to dialogue, they are people of their word.
If we win, we will seek agreements to govern for the benefit and well-being of all and we will continue working to make Catalonia an independent country. So I ask for your vote for Together for Catalonia. From December 22 we will determine a clear path for President Puigdemont to continue democratically toward independence, without hesitation. For this reason, from jail, I ask for your vote for Together For Catalonia.
If Together For Catalonia wins, I commit myself to continue working tirelessly and peacefully as before to make this a country that is socially just, that is economically prosperous, that stands together and is nationally free. So I ask for your vote for Together for Catalonia and President Puigdemont.
I ask for your vote. I encourage you to seek votes for President Puigdemont from friends and family. Nobody better than you to find more votes for Together for Catalonia and if somebody has doubts, get them to think of Brussels or jail. A vote for Together for Catalonia is a vote of our dignity as a country. Light in the eyes to vote on the 21st and strength in the arm to keep working from the 22nd.
Together we will win.
Transcript in Catalan
Amigues i amics us parlo des de la presó. Fa més de 60 dies que hi sóc m’acusen d’una violencia que tothom sap que mai va existir. Voldria estar aquí amb vosaltres, però el mur de la presó m’ho impedeix.
Mai abans havia participat en una campanya electoral, ni tant sols demanant el vot per algun candidat. Clar que tampoc, mai abans havia estat tancat en una presó.
Tots sabem que la nostra ordre de presó es injusta. Com també ho és l’ordre contra el President Puigdemont, l’aplicacio del 155 i la suspensió del nostre govern i parlament. I tothom ha percebut com un espoli temerari la decisió amb les obres d’art de Sixena sense esperar ni tant sols una sentència ferma.
Sí amics, com diu Salvador Espriu, tenim la raó contra bords i lladres, però amb la raó no en tenim prou, hem de guanyar a les urnes. Ho hem de fer per seguir avançant i per revertir les decisions de Rajoy i dels seus amics. Tenim la victória de Puigdemont a tocar dels dits, el vot de Junts per Catalunya és el vot de la dignitat de tot un país.
Ara no podem donat l’esquena al president Puigdemont. Que ell guanyi es l’unica possibilitat que tenim perquè ben aviat torni a Catalunya i torni com a legitim President que n’és. I que ningu s’equivoqui, l’unic adversari polític de veritat es diu Mariano Rajoy, ni Arrimadas, ni Iceta, ni Albiol ens han de preocupar.
Qui ha de treure les seves brutes mans del nostre govern és en Mariano Rajoy. La resta són els tontos útils que li han pagat la festa del 155, que li han permès l’espoli de les obres d’art, que li han permès acomiadar desenes i desenes de treballadors de la Generalitat.
Arrimadas, Iceta i Albiol són els tontos utils de Rajoy. L’unica victoria que Rajoy no podra amagar ni manipular és la victoria del President Puigdemont. Per això us demano el vot per Junts per Catalunya. Des de la presó, Un dic que els candidats de Junts per Catalunya són persones dialogants gent de paraula.
Si guanyem buscarem acords per governar en benefici i benestar de tothom i sequirem treballant per fer que Catalunya sigui un país independent. Per aixo us demano el vot per Junts per Catalunya. A partir del 22 de desembre trobarem amb el President Puigdemont un cami clar per prosseguir democraticàment cap a la independència, no ho dubteu.
Per això, des de la presó, us demano el vot per Junts Per Catalunya. Si junts per catalunya guanya, em comprometo a seguir treballant incansablement i pacificament com fins ara per fer que aquest país esdevingui socialment just, economicament pròsper i solidari i nacionalment lliure. Per això us demano el vot per Junts per Catalunya i el President Puigdemont.
Us demano el vot. Us encoratjo a buscar entre amics i familiars vots per al president Puigdemont. Ningú millor que vosaltres per trobar més vots a favor de Junts Per Catalunya i si algú dubta que pensi en Brussel.les o en la presó. El vot per Junts per Catalunya és el vot de la nostra dignitat com a país. Llum als ulls per votar el proper 21 i força al braç per seguir treballant el dia 22.