Catalan prisons eye semi-open regime for jailed separatists

Catalan prisons eye semi-open regime for jailed separatists
Jailed Catalan separatist Josep Rull, Oriol Junqueras, and Raul Romeva arrive at the parliament building in Barcelona in January 2020 to testify before a regional parliamentary committee. Photo: AFP
The Catalan prisons administration in northeastern Spain on Thursday proposed a semi-open regime for separatist leaders jailed over the failed 2017 independence bid, the regional government said.

The proposal is to be studied by the Catalan justice ministry which is expected to approve it, given that separatists dominate the regional government.

Contacted by AFP, the ministry was not immediately available for comment. The Catalan government is responsible for managing the region's prisons.

If the proposal is approved, the decision could be challenged in a court of law, or even brought before Spain's Supreme Court which sentenced the separatists.

In October 2019, the court sentenced seven senior politicians and two civil leaders to long jail terms of between nine and 13 years for their role in an illegal referendum and a short-lived declaration of independence.

All of the nine have already spent more than two years behind bars given that they were held in pre-trial detention.

However, since being sentenced, they have been able to regularly leave prison with work permits or to do voluntary work in a move that has drawn sharp criticism from anti-separatist groups.

The management of the three prisons where the separatists are being held have expressed “unanimous support” for switching all nine prisoners to a low-risk regime, justice department Armand Caldero told reporters.

Such a move would mean that “from Monday to Friday, they would be able to leave but would have to sleep in prison, while at the weekends, they could stay at home”.

Among the prisoners is former Catalan vice-president Oriol Junqueras who is serving the heaviest sentence of 13 years, as well as five ex-government officials, the former parliamentary speaker and two former civil society leaders.

Despite its separatist leanings, the Catalan government did not automatically allocate the prisoners to a more open prison regime, in a move which was sharply criticised by certain more radical groups.
 


Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.