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Pro-independence parties 'disappointed' by prison classification of jailed leaders

JxCat and ERC to challenge decision in court, while CUP calls for "amnesty and release" for inmates convicted for 2017 independence bid


11 December 2019 06:33 PM



The recommendation on Wednesday that the Catalan leaders found guilty of sedition for their role in the 2017 independence bid should serve Medium category prison sentences provoked reactions from Catalonia's pro-independence parties in particular.

The prison authorities chose to provisionally categorize the inmates as 'segon grau,' as it is known in Catalan, meaning they will be subject to the normal prison regime but will be able to apply for certain privileges after serving a quarter of their sentence.

One of the first pro-independence parties to react was Junts per Catalunya (JxCat), which said it was "disappointed," and pointed out that the lack of unanimity among the prison officials making the recommendation was "the best sign that another decision was possible."

Meanwhile, Esquerra Republicana (ERC) said it "technically" respected the decision but also said it would look into challenging the categorizing of the inmates, as "our job will be to evaluate all of the options and work ceaselessly to get them released."

Earlier, lawyers for ERC and JxCat said they would challenge the classification in court and demand that it be changed to 'tercer grau,' a lower regime that allows inmates to spend more time outside prison, with the appeal likely to end up in the Supreme Court.

However, the far-left CUP said focusing on the categorization of the inmates took the focus away from the "central issue," which is that they are "political prisoners," and the party said the only thing acceptable is their "amnesty and release."

Response outside pro-independence camp

As for left-wing En Comú Podem, which is unaligned on the independence issue but calls for the release of the prisoners, the party said the decision makes the "ideal scenario" of the inmates "soon recovering their freedom" more distant.

There was little response from unionist parties, but Ciutadans called it an "anomaly" that those making decisions on the prisoners should be "party colleagues from ERC and JxCat" in reference to the Catalan government being responsible for the prison system in Catalonia.