Jordi Turull has written a letter to El Nacional describing his final hours in Lledoners prison in Catalonia and the transfer to Brians 2 prison this morning, where the male prisoners met again with Carme Forcadell and Dolors Bassa. They have all now just arrived in Madrid at the prisons they will be held in during their trial, expected to start in the coming days.
Comments within square brackets are translator's notes.
Thursday, 31st January 2019
Today has been a strange day. The waiting and goodbyes draw out. For reasons of prison protocol, they won't tell us what time we're leaving tomorrow until the last moment.
Many officials, as I've seen them, have said goodbye. Some, moved. Just like the prisoners from other cell blocks who I've met in the sports centre or on the way to the communications block.
In the early afternoon, after lunch, we had to pack up the computers we had in our cells by authorisation of the Supreme Court (to avoid having the 60,000 pages of the case) and our televisions. The silence, the cold, the solitude... they take over the cell. Everything we take to Madrid during the transfer has to fit within two clink kitbags. Impossible! We have to choose and prioritise. Whatever doesn't fit in, our families will come to collect some day.
I've saved calls for today to speak up to four times with Blanca and my daughters. A strange feeling of saying goodbye, but of great shared strength. My parents have got a bad flu and my sister is with them. I pass on to them that I'm well, determined and keen for the trial to start. Throughout the day we remain unaware what day the trial will start.
They dedicated a few words and a long applause to the "magnificent seven"
In the dining room, during dinner, the prisoners gave each of us a notebook full of very lovely messages. They dedicated a few words and a long applause to the "magnificent seven", as they've named us today. At Estremera [prison in Madrid] we were "the Catalans"; at Lledoners, "the politicians". Today, however, they've called us "the magnificent seven".
Just after dinner, embraces and more embraces with each of the prisoners. Some very moved. I'd got a lump in my throat too.
At eight forty-five on the dot, all seven of us were in the courtyard waiting for the signal from Joan BonaNit full of emotion [Joan BonaNit (lit. Joan GoodNight) is an anonymous person who has shouted good night to the prisoners in Lledoners every night through a megaphone]. Then they told us we'd have to leave our cells at 5.30 in the morning.
We've just said goodbye and at 8.50 we're already in our cells. A prisoner has done me the immense favour of lending me his radio so the night isn't so long in the cell.
I listen to the news, it seems that it's confirmed that the trial will start on the 12th. Good! We'll have a week to adapt to the new prison and time to go over our papers to not miss any of the details which take apart the farce that is these accusations..
In the evening, I shower and shave. Tomorrow, we'll go in tracksuits, with blazers with our minister pins. Let it not be forgotten why we're in prison.
I hope to not fall asleep tomorrow.
Now everything is silent is in the cell. A very strange feeling. We don't know what the transfer will be like. Keen to see Montserrat [symbolic mountain range with an important abbey], to see people, to see estelades ["starred" pro-independence flags]. Absolute impotence over not being able to embrace the people to show the immense gratitude I have for them.
But strength, much strength. We're leaving Lledoners more determined, stronger than when we arrived.
Friday, 1st February 2019
At 4.30, they call us over the cells' internal tannoy.
I've slept well enough. The challenge of closing the kitbags with everything we can take to Madrid is successful. It wasn't easy.
I look with emotion and internal courage at the minister pin on the lapel of my jacket
I put on a shirt and jacket. I feel strange. It's a long time since I wore one or the other. I look with emotion and internal courage at the minister pin on the lapel of my jacket. I kill time and listen to the radio until they open the cell door to go down to the entry block to wait there for the vans to arrive and to start the journey to Soto del Real [prison in Madrid].
It's raining at Lledoners. Shucks! I suppose it's good for farmers, but it could taint the departure. It's dark and raining. Luckily the fog sooner or later ends up clearing up.
Despite going for an unfair trial, we're not going there with the mood of the defeated. On the contrary. We're going there with the strength and the courage given by having defended a noble, just, peaceful, legitimate and democratic cause and to confront a narrative which is an absolute farce. Now it's them and everyone who'll have to listen to us.
We hear 'El cant dels ocells' from outside. How moving, we won't let you down!!!
The wait to leave the room drags on. I don't know if I'll be able to write during the journey. We hear El cant dels ocells from outside [a traditional song considered a symbol of Catalonia, famously performed by cellist Pau Casals]. How moving, we won't let you down!!! We're not violent; we're the country of Pau Casals! We do leaving paperwork, collect the money from our accounts, etc.
We're going in two vans. Quim, Raül, Josep and I are together; the Jordis and Oriol are in the other. It's cold in the van. I don't know if we'll see much. There's a small window. It's dark and we can't see out well. We hear people shouting "You're not alone!". We see a line of police car lights.
The path to Brians is dark; I wasn't able to see Monistrol [village below Montserrat]. In fact, we seen practically nothing.
Very keen to see Carme and Dolors. I suppose we'll see them and hug them. We pass by Terrassa and Sant Cugat, the towns Josep and Raül are from, who are both filled with many emotions.
When we get to Brians I'll have to stop writing.
Seeing the government will be an honour. I look to pass on this note and share it. Pepe Antich suggested it and asked me to, and I feel keen to pass on this account as a show of my thanks.
From Brians to Madrid will be a different story, I guess.
How we'll miss Joan's "good night", for sure. And so many people and Catalonia's media. But now we have to convert nostalgia into strength and determination. It's day now, it's 8 and arriving at Brians we've seen people!
See you soon, Catalonia! Always in my heart!