Nine Catalan political prisoners have been interned in Madrid prisons for many months before any trial and without any credible evidence of committing the crimes they are charged with (violent rebellion, sedition, misuse of public funds).
After many requests to be transferred to prisons in Catalonia, six of the prisoners (Jordi Cuixart, Jordi Sànchez, Oriol Junqueras, Dolors Bassa, Maria Carme Forcadell and Raül Romeva) are finally moving closer to their families, while the transfer processes for the remaining three (Joaquim Forn, Josep Rull and Jordi Turull) still await responses from the magistrate.
Spain is unusual in comparison to other countries in that this precautionary pre-trial internment can be protracted over a very long period, with no onus on the state to expedite the proceedings while innocent people have been deprived of their liberty. The trial for charges relating to the 1 Oct 2017 referendum in Catalonia is not expected to even begin until 2019, possibly waiting till after elections in May 2019. Prisoners held in precautionary detention before trial have a right under Spanish law to be located in a prison of their choice, so these long overdue transfers should be viewed in terms of legal compliance rather than a concession or “goodwill gesture”. Their continued imprisonment remains an act of repression, a punitive act against the main political and civil elements of the the Catalan independence movement.
They should all be HOME, not locked up CLOSE TO HOME.
New addresses for the six transfers underway are as follows.
- Jordi Cuixart
- Jordi Sànchez
- Oriol Junqueras
- Raül Romeva
|Centre Penitenciari Lledoners
C-55, km 37
08250 Sant Joan de Vilatorrada
- Dolors Bassa
- Maria Carme Forcadell
|Centre Penitenciari Puig de les Basses
Raval disseminat, 53
We will update the other three addresses if and when their transfers are underway.
Photo credit: Reuters
A fourth attempt to vote on the investiture of a Catalan president following the election of 21 Dec 2017 has been timetabled for Friday with imprisoned MP Jordi Sànchez once again the proposed presidential candidate. The Catalan Parliament seeks a reversal of the Supreme Court decision on releasing Sànchez so that he can attend the parliamentary chamber for the investiture votes, particularly in light of the UN Human Rights Committee last month formally urged the Spanish authorities to respect Sànchez’s political rights.
Parliament speaker, Roger Torrent, vowed that the Catalan chamber would respond “with all political and legal force to defend the fundamental and political rights of MPs,” if the Supreme Court judge in charge of Sànchez’s case once again refuses to let the jailed activist out of prison to attend the parliamentary debate.
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. Continue reading Spanish authorities punish Jordi Sànchez for election broadcast recorded from prison – transcript in English and Catalan