The jailed Catalan activists, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, have been granted 48 hours leave from prison, after the Catalan government’s justice department authorised their leave, and following the permission being first granted from the authorities at Lledoners prison, where they are being held.
They are the first of the nine Catalan independence leaders, sentenced on 14 October 2019, to be granted leave from prison.
Sànchez and Cuixart, both serving nine years for sedition, are the first to be able to apply for leave because they were the first to be arrested, in October 2017.They are allowed to apply for up to 36 days leave a year, once a quarter of their sentence has been served.
Applications for leave that is less than two days are authorised by the justice department, whilst those for up to seven days require authorisation from a special judge.
Tweeting from prison shortly after the leave was granted, Cuixart wrote ‘I will continue to apply for all the prisoners’ rights that we have.’
Jordi Sànchez is the former Catalan National Assembly (ANC) grassroots leader. He led a protest outside the Catalan economy department on 20 September 2017, as a response to Spanish police raids against the referendum organisation. No-one was injured, but the protest was considered a ‘tumultuous’ one, for which Sànchez was charged with sedition, and then rebellion. The grassroots leader maintains that all pro-independence demonstrations over that period were peaceful.
Sànchez, who has been in prison since 16 October 2017, stepped down as ANC leader and was elected as Catalan MP for Carles Puigdemont’s party. Unsuccessful attempts were made to allow him to be sworn in as Catalan president following the December 2017 election, and he was also suspended as MP. Following the April 2019 Spanish elections vote, was allowed to take up his seat in the Spanish Congress but was then suspended days later.
Sànchez spent 728 days in preventive detention prior to sentencing on 14 October 2019. He was found guilty of sedition and is currently serving 9 years in jail.
Jordi Cuixart is the Òmnium Cultural grassroots leader. He is the only jailed Catalan leader who has never held a public political post. During the 2017 referendum, as president of Òmnium – another large pro-independence organisation – he faced the same charges as Jordi Sànchez. Both were the first to be sent to precautionary jail in October 2017.
Unlike Sànchez, however, he did not make the move to institutional politics in the December 2017 Catalan election and remained at the head of Òmnium. This organisation has dramatically increased its membership to 170,000.
Cuixart spent 728 days in preventive detention prior to sentencing. He was found guilty of sedition on 14 October 2019 and is also currently serving 9 years in jail.
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