Jailed MP punished for recorded message in election campaign
The repercussions for Jordi Sànchez, incarcerated near Madrid, include increased time in his cell to 18 hours
Jordi Sànchez, jailed MP for the pro-independence Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) candidacy tweeted the punishments imposed by the Soto de Real penitentiary center. These include the interdiction to speak to a pro-independence colleague, changing cellblocks, and increased time inside the cell itself. Now, it’s gone up to 18 hours.
The crime? Releasing a message, recorded on a cellphone, from the Spanish prison, to be played at a JxCat rally during the campaign for the December 21 elections. While Sànchez has just now revealed the officially mandated punishment for the action he took on December 16, the consequences had already begun some days later, when a party colleague said that he was no longer “allowed to communicate with his family.”
Jordi Sànchez has been in prison since October 16, along with Jordi Cuixart. The two frequently worked together as heads of collaborating grassroots pro-independence associations ahead of the October 1 referendum, as the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural, led by Sànchez and Cuixart respectively. It was for this role that the two were put in pre-trial prison and accused of sedition. There are currently nine Catalan leaders in prison, but the two activists have been in prison the longest.
Sànchez, however, stepped down from his role at the ANC to run as JxCat’s second candidate, just after Puigdemont. Inasmuch, he has been proposed as a presidential candidate twice: each time, his defense formally requested that he be allowed to leave prison to attend the investiture debate in parliament or participate remotely, but was denied by the Spanish courts. The second time this happened was following a UN Human Rights Committee statement, urging Spain to protect his political rights.