Defense for jailed independence activist calls for restoration of prison privileges

Attempt to silence Jordi Cuixart has 'no chance of prospering' say lawyers

Jordi Cuixart during temporary release from prison, July 17, 2020 (by Guillem Roset)
Jordi Cuixart during temporary release from prison, July 17, 2020 (by Guillem Roset) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

August 3, 2020 07:03 PM

The defense for jailed pro-independence activist Jordi Cuixart has warned that if the recent removal of certain prison privileges was an attempt to "silence [Cuixart] by threatening no possibility of release from prison" it has "no chance of prospering."

The written statement from the defense calls for Cuixart's move to the most lenient of the three prison regimes, recently suspended, to be reinstated because "he has not said anything that wasn't said during his trial or in his book 'Ho tornarem a fer' (We Will Do It Again).

Cuixart, president of cultural organization Òmnium Cultural, "will continue to exercise the right to demonstrate, the right of assembly and the mobilization of citizens, fundamental rights that are enshrined in the Spanish Constitution and in international treaties," the defense added.

Along with the other eight jailed independence leaders, Cuixart was granted a move the lowest prison category on July 14, only for it to be suspended two weeks later.

On reentering prison, Cuixart said that they drew strength "from the impotence and lack of dialogue from Spain," and called for an amnesty to end the repression.

Prisoners in the most lenient category are allowed out on leave during the day on weekdays and overnight at weekends.

Redefine crime of sedition

The smaller party in Spain's governing coalition, the left-wing Unidas Podemos, has put forward a proposal to modify the crime of sedition – which Cuixart was found guilty of committing – as it is defined in the penal code.

On Monday, the Catalan newspaper Ara reported that Podemos wanted to link sedition explicitly to the presence of violence and use of weapons, and had communicated this idea in writing to their partners in government, Pedro Sánchez's Socialist Party (PSOE).

Jaume Asens, president of the Unidas Podemos group in Congress, acknowledged that they would prefer to abolish the crime completely but had to remain "realistic" and admit that such a proposal would not gain a majority in the Spanish parliament's lower house.

Speaking to Catalunya Radio, Asens said the definition had to be clarified, to "eliminate elements of vagueness" and include specific reference to violence "capable of seriously endangering people's lives or causing serious injury."

Referring to the sentencing of Cuixart and the other jailed pro-independence leaders, Asens accused Supreme Court judge Manuel Marchena of "acting as a legislator and making the law say something it doesn't say," but played down the prospect of an amnesty, citing "legal difficulties."