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When on October 16th, 2017, judge Carmen Lamela of Spain's National Audience court sent Catalan independence activists Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez to Soto del Real prison, no one, outside the Spanish deep state, could have imagined that by April 15th, 2019, they would have completed 18 months deprived of their liberty without even for one minute of that period being released from custody and that for 547 uninterrupted nights, they would have had first Soto del Real, then Lledoners, and now Soto del Real again as their only home. The two giants of Catalan pacifism have - like the rest of the political prisoners - undergone an unprecedented crushing of their rights, amid a shameful complicit silence from the political, financial and media establishment.

There is no reason for the deprivation of their freedom. There is no reason why their political rights have been restricted. There is no reason why none of their requests to take part in the election campaign have been granted. There is no reason why they can't give radio or television interviews. There is no reason why the prosecution maintains the charge of rebellion in the absence of any rational evidence to support it.

Catalonia has been experiencing a situation of exception which is not the result of protests outside the Catalan economy ministry, nor of the October 1st 2017 referendum, nor of the declaration of independence in Parliament. The situation of exception comes from the police repression and the Supreme Court trial which do not have even a minimal relationship with any kind of equity, justice or reality. Nothing took place in the way that is now being explained, but that doesn't matter much given the narrative which is being imposed.

The 18 months that the Jordis have spent deprived of freedom as well as every day that the other jailed political leaders have spent in prison must not be downplayed. It isn't enough just to have demonstrations, hold "yellow" dinners, stick up massive yellow ribbons or take other actions promoted by Òmnium and the ANC. The independence movement must mobilize as never before in a Spanish general election to respond forcefully at the polls to the current situation. Now that Pedro Sánchez has said that he is moving towards a one-colour government without ties, or, what would amount to the same thing, a pact with Ciudadanos, the independence movement needs to maximise its seats if it wants to pressure the deep state and avoid the arrival of a new 155 and the refrigeration of its self-government. The Jordis and the rest of the political prisoners deserve it.