A prison courts judge has again withdrawn the open prison regime from the seven Catalan political prisoners serving sentences in Lledoners prison. Thus, Oriol Junqueras, Joaquim Forn, Raül Romeva, Jordi Turull, Josep Rull, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart have now, this Tuesday night, returned to prison. Dozens of people turned up to support them as they re-entered the jail.
“The progression [to a more open regime] agreed in the resolution subject to this appeal must be understood as hasty,” says today's ruling from penitentiary surveillance judge number 5. The judge upheld all of the prosecutors' points in an argument based on the fact that the convicted pro-independence leaders do not acknowledge their crimes. “One cannot detect among them a minimal assumption of criminal responsibility in the sense of having broken basic rules of social coexistence,” says the ruling.
According to the judge, "the inmate's assumption of the responsibilities and actions carried out cannot be accepted, based on what is inferred from the reports of the Treatment Board supporting the resolution." The judge recounts the positions of the prisoners with respect to their situation and concludes that none of them have accepted the criminal offence they committed: "All the facts that they have assumed appear to have been contextualized, minimized or justified, and the responsibility to which they refer is a political (depending on their position) or moral (depending on their convictions) responsibility, but one cannot detect in them a minimum of criminal responsibility. "
Nor does the judge attribute special importance to the personal circumstances of each of the inmates which their lawyers have argued in order to be able to maintain the open Level Three regime. In this regard, he says that they all have the same personal circumstances as when they were tried, and that nothing has changed for them now to allow a change from the standard Level 2 lock-up regime.
The argument asserts out that the open regime granted by the Catalan justice department, only requiring them to spend weeknights in prison, is premature, and although they have the right to have their situation reviewed every six months, under the criminal regulations, it is early to give them the Level 3 status.
The same day as Puigdemont has lost his immunity
Thus, on the same day as the Catalan president in exile, Carles Puigdemont, has lost his immunity from prosecution in the European Parliament, together with Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí, the Spanish courts have again imprisoned the political prisoners.
The first to make the news public was former ANC president Jordi Sànchez, with a tweet, as soon as he was told the news by justice authorities.
Ens treuen el 3er Grau. Ens ho acabem de comunicar. De nou ens tanquen a la presó. O ens faran callar ni renunciar a seguir treballant per construir un país independent, plenament lliure, democràtic i pròsper. Seguim sense defallir. Llum als ulls i força al braç! pic.twitter.com/prFyvIU8t0— Jordi Sànchez (@jordialapreso) March 9, 2021
"They are taking away our Level 3 regime. They've just told us. They are locking us in jail again. They won't silence us nor make us stop working to build an independent, fully free, democratic and prosperous country. We continue without giving up. Light in your eyes and strength in your arm!"— Jordi Sànchez
On February 24th, 10 days after the Catalan election, the judge decided to allow the political prisoners to continue their leave rights on an interim basis while deciding whether or not to accept the prosecution's request to cancel the Level 3 regime, which had been granted by justice department professionals 24 hours before the start of the Catalan election campaign.
It seemed that this time, unlike in July 2020 when the prisoners' Level 3 regime was withdrawn for the first time, the resolution could have been different, at least in the first instance. Six months ago, the judge did not even allow an interim continuation of the semi-liberty regime by the prisoners, but rather ordered their immediate return to a Level 2 regime until the Supreme Court decided - which was five months later.
After appeals from the prosecutors, their case ended up being considered by the judges who convicted them, in the Supreme Court. This time that was not necessary. It was the prison surveillance judge who ruled that they should return to prison.
The decision does not, for the moment, affect the two women among the political prisoners, Carme Forcadell and Dolors Bassa, who depend on a different judge's decision: in their case, penitentiary surveillance judge number 1 of Catalonia. This court has yet to pronounce.