22nd October 2021
Catalan leaders in jail
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Spain’s Supreme Court revokes ‘low category’ status of jailed Catalan leaders

Spain’s Supreme Court has revoked the ‘low category’ status given to the jailed Catalan leaders, which now cancels their prison leave privileges. It ruled that it is ‘premature’ for them to be allowed more flexible conditions.

The nine Catalan politicians and activists were jailed for between 9-13 years by the Supreme Court on 14 October 2019. They were convicted for crimes of sedition and misuse of funds for their roles in the 1 October 2017 independence referendum.

They had been found guilty following the high-profile Catalan Trial – with the verdicts causing widespread protests across Catalonia.

Catalan leaders in jail
The seven male Catalan pro-independence leaders photographed whilst in Lledoners prison in Catalonia, when they were still awaiting the start of the trial (Photo ACN)

Spain’s prison system is made up of three regimes: High, Medium and Low Category status. 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.

The nine Catalan leaders had been granted the ‘low category’ status by the Catalan government, ratifying a recommendation made by the regional penitentiary authorities, but it had been appealed and was pending a decision by the Supreme Court.

The court’s ruling now immediately affects Carme Forcadell (sentenced to 11 and a half years) and Dolors Bassa (sentenced to 12 years) – both of whom were currently under the low category prison regime. The seven male leaders – Oriol Junqueras, Raül Romeva, Joaquim Forn, Jordi Cuixart, Jordi Sànchez, Josep Rull and Jordi Turull (pictured) – briefly had the ‘low category’ status but had it revoked in late July. They had been appealing against the decision.

Catalonia’s acting president, Pere Aragonès, described the court’s decision as an ‘insult to all democrats’. He tweeted that the leaders had been ‘punished by a crooked, old and outdated justice for the simple fact of defending their ideas. Amnesty is urgent!’

The nine jailed politicians and activists:

  • Oriol Junqueras – former Catalan vice president, finance minister and leader of the Esquerra Republicana (ERC) party.

Junqueras spent 711 days in preventive detention prior to sentencing. Crime: sedition and misuse of public funds. Prison sentence: 13 years. Disqualification: 13 years.

ALSO READ: Junqueras: ‘I consider myself a political prisoner’

  • Jordi Turull – former Catalan presidency minister.

Turull spent 602 days in preventive detention prior to sentencing. Crime: sedition and misuse of public funds. Prison sentence: 12 years. Disqualification: 12 years

  • Joaquim Forn – former Catalan interior minister.

Forn spent 711 days in preventive detention prior to sentencing. Crime:sedition. Prison sentence: 10.5 years. Disqualification: 10.5 years.

  • Raül Romeva – former Catalan foreign action minister.

Romeva spent 602 days in preventive detention prior to sentencing. Crime: sedition and misuse of public funds. Prison sentence: 12 years. Disqualification: 12 years.

  • Dolors Bassa – former Catalan labour and social affairs minister.

Bassa spent 602 days in preventive detention prior to sentencing. Crime: sedition and misuse of public funds. Prison sentence: 12 years. Disqualification: 12 years.

  • Josep Rull – former Catalan territory minister.

Rull spent 602 days in preventive detention prior to sentencing. Crime:sedition. Prison sentence: 10.5 years. Disqualification: 10.5 years.

  • Carme Forcadell – former Catalan Parliament speaker.

Forcadell spent 571 days in preventive detention prior to sentencing. Crime: sedition. Prison sentence: 11.5 years. Disqualification: 11.5 years.

  • Jordi Sànchez – former Catalan National Assembly (ANC) grassroots leader.

Sànchez spent 728 days in preventive detention prior to sentencing. Crime: sedition. Prison sentence: 9 years. Disqualification: 9 years.

  • Jordi Cuixart – Òmnium Cultural grassroots leader.

Cuixart spent 728 days in preventive detention prior to sentencing. Crime: sedition. Prison sentence: 9 years. Disqualification: 9 years

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

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

ALSO READ (27/9/20): Spanish government to consider pardons for jailed Catalan leaders

ALSO READ (1/8/20): Seven of nine jailed Catalan leaders have ‘low category’ prison sentence revoked

ALSO READ (27/2/20): Talks commence between Spanish and Catalan governments

ALSO READ (7/2/20): Pedro Sánchez and Quim Torra face ‘long talks process’

ALSO READ (25/1/20): Spanish government will seek to reform definition of ‘sedition’ in criminal code

ALSO READ (19/11/19): Amnesty International again call for two ‘Jordis’ immediate release

ALSO READ (4/7/19): UN working group calls for release of four more jailed Catalan politicians

Click here for all articles and updates on the Catalan Trial, verdicts and sentencing

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