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Catalan leaders in prison could be granted ‘low category’ status

Prison authorities where the nine jailed Catalan independence leaders are currently serving their sentences for their roles in the 1 October 2017 referendum –  Lledoners, Puig de les Basses, and Wad Ras prisons – have unanimously proposed granting them all ‘Low Category’ status.

The proposal will have to be confirmed by the Catalan Justice Department within two months – but if accepted, it will will mean that Oriol Junqueras, Raül Romeva, Carme Forcadell, Jordi Turull, Josep Rull, Joaquim Forn, Dolors Bassa, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez will be able to go home at weekends and serve their sentence from Monday to Friday.

ALSO READ: Catalan Trial verdict: full details of each sentence

Former Catalan leaders including (from front row right to left) Oriol Junqueras, Raul Romeva, Joaquim Forn, Jordi Sanchez, Jordi Turull, Josep Rull, Jordi Cuixart, Carme Forcadell, Dolors Bassa, Carles Mundo, Santi Vila and Meritxel Borras attend their trial at the Supreme Court in Madrid on 12 February 2019. (Emilio Naranjo / POOL / AFP)

Spain’s prison system is made up of three regimes, High, Medium and Low status, with the option of conditional release.

Inmates are categorised in one of the regimes depending on the seriousness of the offence, the level of intent, and the risk of harming others.

The ‘High category’ is reserved for prisoners considered a danger to others. ‘Medium category’ is a normal prison life and ‘Low category’ allows for conditional release.

Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, the nine leaders had already been granted leave from prison in accordance with Article 100.2 of Spanish prison regulations, applicable to prisoners who fall in the medium category sentencing and who have served a quarter of their sentences. All leave was then cancelled during the health crisis.

Previous report (6 March 2020): All nine jailed Catalan leaders now granted temporary leave 

All nine Catalan political leaders and activists were sentenced from between 9-13 years in prison for sedition following their roles in the October 2017 referendum. They were sentenced by Spain’s Supreme Court on 14 October 2019. The verdict caused widespread protests across Catalonia

Click here for all our previous reports on the Catalan Trial, verdicts and sentencing

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