Nothing yellow. No yellow shirts, no yellow scarves. Not even a calendar put together by a group of pensioners from Reus. The prison guards at the Soto del Real penitentiary near Madrid who managed the Catalan political prisoners' arrival at the jail on Friday and had to check through their belongings did not allow them to retain anything yellow: the colour which the Catalan independence movement has used to protest the existence of political prisoners.
In addition to the veto of the colour yellow, according to sources among the prisoners' families who spoke to El Nacional, the pro-independence politicians and leaders found to their surprise that the criteria used to decide what was permissible among the objects they brought with them was far from uniform. Some were prevented from bringing pencils with them, while in other cases these were allowed. Some had their towels taken off their hands, others didn't.
What none of them were allowed to bring into the prison was a computer. Computers and the pen drives containing 60,000 pages of Supreme Court documents to prepare the independence process trial - expected to start on February 12th - are still being reviewed at Soto del Real jail. This is essential documentation for the preparation of the trial: it had been authorized by the prison service, and if the ban on computers is not resolved they will need it in paper format. At the moment, a week before the start of the trial, neither of the two prisons where the Catalan prisoners are being held - Soto del Real and Alcalá Meco - have given the inmates access to this material.
The prisoners at Soto de Real, who this weekend have been able to start the regular routine of family visits, have been moved into individual cells, side by side. All the men, civic leaders Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, and Catalan government member Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Turull, Josep Rull, Raül Romeva and Quim Forn were taken to Soto del Real. The women, former parliamentary speaker Carme Forcadell and minister Dolors Bassa, are in Alcalá Meco.
The first nights in the Madrid jails served to confirm that the Soto del Real prison maintains a practice of turning off heating in the cells at 12 midnight, and not turning it on again until the next morning. This was not a surprise, since Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez spent several months in this penitentiary, and had already explained that they had come to sleep wearing anoraks to avoiding getting cold at night. Despite this, some of the prisoners, such as Rull and Forn, have admitted that the cold was severe.