Jailed leaders recommended to serve Medium category sentences

Catalan independence politicians and activists will be subject to normal prison life with limited permits if confirmed

The jailed Catalan leaders in the dock surrounded by judges and lawyers in the courtroom on the first day of trial February 12 (photo courtesy of Pool EFE)
The jailed Catalan leaders in the dock surrounded by judges and lawyers in the courtroom on the first day of trial February 12 (photo courtesy of Pool EFE) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

December 11, 2019 11:32 AM

The jailed Catalan leaders, who last October were found guilty of sedition in Spain’s Supreme Court over the failed 2017 independence bid, have today been recommended to serve Medium category sentences

The recommendation was made without unanimity, but the Medium category was the one that was preferred by the prison teams responsible for designating the term severity. 

At 9 o’clock on Wednesday morning, the teams from the prisons of Lledoners, where the seven male inmates are all staying, Puig de les Basses, where Dolors Bassa is being held, and Mas d'Enric, where Carme Forcadell is detained, met up to decide on what category they recommend for the prisoners without “conjectures.”

Spain's penal system is made up of three prison regimes, High, Medium, and Low (known as ‘primer grau,’ ‘segon grau,’ and tercer grau’ in Catalan,) with the option of conditional release, with inmates categorized in one of the regimes depending on the seriousness of the offense, their level of intent, and their risk of harming others.

Wednesday morning’s provisional decision on categorizing the inmates as 'segon grau,' the prisoners will be able to apply for certain privileges after serving a quarter of their sentence, such as 36 days leave from prison every year, although such a decision could be challenged by the prosecutor.

Another option for the inmates in terms of leaving prison as 'segon grau' inmates is to find a job. The law allows for prisoners to leave prison for a few hours to work, although as the leaders are barred from public office this would have to be with a private organization.

First leaders up for prison privileges

Given that the leaders spent as much as two years in preventive custody, some of them will not have to wait long before they can apply for certain privileges based on the fact that they will soon have served a quarter of their sentences.

Such is the case of activist leaders, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez, who were given nine years in prison, and who will have served a quarter of their sentences in January, allowing them to apply for 36 days prison leave every year.

After them it will be the turn of former ministers, Joaquim Forn and Josep Rull, who will have served a quarter of their sentences in May/June and October respectively, while former parliament speaker, Carme Forcadell, will have done so in January 2021.

Fines for former ministers reduced

Meanwhile, former ministers Carles Mundó and Meritxell Borràs, who were not given prison sentences but were handed hefty fines of 60,000 euros, have had the amount they have to pay reduced to 35,600 euros, to reflect the 33 days they spent in preventive detention.

Both former ministers say that in the next few weeks they intend to sue the state to compensate them for the moral and financial damages caused by the time they spent locked up, although they have not yet calculated how much they intend to sue for.