Pro-independence leaders Puigdemont and Junqueras resume contact

Former Catalan vice president and other jailed politicians and activists spend weekend at home

Former president Carles Puigdemont and vice president Oriol Junqueras in parliament, October 26, 2017 (Pere Francesch)
Former president Carles Puigdemont and vice president Oriol Junqueras in parliament, October 26, 2017 (Pere Francesch) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

July 20, 2020 08:11 PM

The two main leaders of the independence movement, exiled former president Carles Puigdemont and jailed former vice president Oriol Junqueras, are in regular contact again.

Speaking to Catalan broadcaster TV3 on Sunday, Junqueras said that their relationship is "very cordial" and they speak one, two or three times a week, about politics, their families, and "about everything, about the future."

Out on weekend release for the first time since being transferred to a more lenient prison regime, Esquerra Republicana (ERC) leader Junqueras also denied having a bad relationship with other pro-independence prisoners.

Junts per Catalunya leader Puigdemont confirmed on Monday that the two men were in touch and that he hoped they could "reverse their disagreements."

Puigdemont referred to having a "disloyal" vice president in his book 'M'explico', released on Monday, but the MEP said that all statements have to be taken in context and that he has a relationship with Junqueras because they both want to move the country forward.

Junqueras was one of nine jailed Catalan pro-independence politicians and activists behind the 2017 referendum able to leave prison on Friday for the weekend, as their move to the lowest prison category, which they were recently granted, came into effect.

Most of the group were greeted in their various hometowns on Friday, with some taking part in media interviews over the weekend.

After spending nearly three years behind bars, Dolors Bassa, Carme Forcadell, Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Turull, Raül Romeva, Josep Rull, Joaquim Forn, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez are now allowed to spend weekends at home and work outside prison during the week while only having to return weeknights.

Yet, the decision to grant them the lowest prison category, taken by the Catalan penitentiary authorities and confirmed by the Catalan justice department, may not be final.

If, as thought, Spain's prosecutor appeals the decision, the court that tried them in 2019, the Supreme Court, would have the final say on the issue and might return them to stricter prison conditions.