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Prison authorities recommend jailed leaders be given leave privileges again

Low category status was already granted last July, but revoked by Supreme Court in December


14 January 2021 11:51 AM


ACN | Barcelona

The prison authorities of the penitentiary centres where the jailed Catalan independence leaders are serving their sentences for their roles in holding the 2017 referendum –  Lledoners, Puig de les Basses, and Wad Ras – have unanimously proposed granting them 'low category' statuses ('tercer grau,' in Catalan) again. 

They had already made the decision last year, before it was ultimately revoked by Spain’s Supreme Court – now the Catalan government has to confirm or deny the prison authorities’ proposal within the next two weeks. 

The cabinet is expected to accept it, as they did in July as well, but Spain’s prosecutor could appeal the ruling again and have the low category statuses removed once more. 

This category means that they would be able to spend weekends at home and leave their cells during the day during the week, returning only to sleep in jail from Monday to Friday.

The decision was made “by majority” for the eight Lledoners and Puig de les Basses jails inmates, and "unanimously" for former parliament speaker Carme Forcadell, held in Wad-Ras centre. 

Second attempt to grant leaders prison benefits

The nine jailed pro-independence leaders have been trying to get as much time as possible out of the prison since they were convicted to between 9 and 13 years behind bars for their roles in the 2017 independence push.

From early 2020, they were all permitted regular leave times on weekdays to work, volunteer, or look after dependent people.

On July 2, 2020, the authorities of the penitentiary centres where they are imprisoned recommended to grant them the low category status, something that was confirmed on July 14 by the Catalan government, the authority in charge of the prisons. 

They all spent two weekends at home, until Spain's prosecutor appealed the classification, prompting the suspension of privileges of seven out of the nine politicians and activists in late July. 

After some penitentiary courts' decisions were favourable to the low category statuses, a final decision by the Supreme Court ruled against it on December 4. 

This meant that Carme Forcadell and Dolors Bassa, the only ones still enjoying the 'tercer grau', were forced to spend all week behind bars again.