Read in Catalan

The judge of Catalonia prison supervisory court number 1 has this Tuesday confirmed his own earlier decision, and has rejected the request from public prosecutors to order the Catalan political prisoners Dolors Bassa and Carme Forcadell to return to a standard Level 2 lock-up prison regime. Former Catalan labour minister Bassa and ex-speaker of parliament Forcadell will thus continue under a Level 3 open prison regime which requires them to spend only weeknights in prison.

Today's decision is, once again, provisional and is part of an ongoing legal battle over the prison status of all nine convicted Catalan pro-independence leaders. The nine were all awarded a Level 3 regime along with work leave privileges earlier this year by Catalan justice authorities, but appeals by public prosecutors saw the matter raised to the court of ultimate appeal, the Spanish Supreme Court, which in the case of the nine Catalan prisoners was also their sentencing court. Considering one particular instance in a July ruling - a prosecutors' appeal against the work leave granted to Carme Forcadell - the Supreme Court, in its appeal court role, made new doctrine, deciding that all such appeals against prison regime questions should ultimately be decided by the sentencing court concerned.

Thus, effectively, the Supreme Court gave itself the final word over the details of the prison regimes to be served by the Catalan pro-independence leaders, whom the same court had controversially sentenced to long prison sentences for sedition in October 2019. 

The latest ruling by the Catalonia prisons court number 1 judge is about the interim status which Forcadell and Bassa have, until the Supreme Court considers the matter of the Level 3 status of all nine convicted Catalan leaders. Whereas the prisons judge hearing the cases for the seven male political prisoners decided to revoke the open prison privileges as an interim measure, the judge hearing the case of the two female prisoners took an opposing view, and re-asserted his argument today against a new appeal from prosecutors.      

In the rulings on both prisoners, the judge rejected the prosecutors' requests to suspend the Level 3 regime as an interim measure until the Supreme Court resolves the matter. He noted that Level 3 had not been suspended so far for either of them.