Jailed pro-independence leaders set for return to Catalan prisons

Imprisoned politicians will spend summer awaiting verdict in rebellion trial

The male prisoners arriving in Zaragoza on June 25, 2019
The male prisoners arriving in Zaragoza on June 25, 2019 / Daniel Wittenberg

Daniel Wittenberg | Barcelona

June 26, 2019 10:38 AM

The nine senior politicians and grassroots leaders remanded in custody after the independence drive will return to Catalan prisons on Wednesday following the conclusion of their rebellion trial at Spain's Supreme Court in Madrid.

The former parliament speaker Carme Forcadell and former minister Dolors Bassa left the high-security jail at Alcalá-Meco, a suburb of the Spanish capital, on Wednesday morning. The women will be taken directly to Mas d'Enric prison, near Tarragona, and Puig de les Basses prison, near Figueres, respectively.

The men, including ousted vice-president Oriol Junqueras and activists Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, continued their three-day transfer, leaving Zuera prison in Zaragoza. They will briefly rejoin their female counterparts at a transit point near Barcelona, where the Catalan police force will take charge of the prisoners.

All the defendants will be returned to the prisons where they were held in pre-trial detention for up to 20 months. In the case of the men, that will be Lledoners prison, 70km from Barcelona, which has inadvertently become a symbolic site.

The high-profile pro-independence leaders are expected to spend at least several months in their new cells pending the Supreme Court verdict, and if found guilty of rebellion or sedition, they could remain there for several years.