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They came to the prison to sing. Almost 2,000 people congregated outside the Catalan prison of Mas d'Enric, close to Tarragona, on Saturday for a mass choral performance in honour of the jailed speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell, who has been incarcerated at Mas d'Enric on pretrial detention since July last year. The mass choral group included members of the choirs of Barcelona's historic Orfeó Català, as well as local groups from the Conca de Barberà and Priorat counties. The works they performed included Lluis Llach's L'estaca and the Mallorcan anthem La balanguera. The event, which began this Saturday at noon in the parking area outside the prison, also featured groups performing the traditional Catalan dance the sardana and folk music.

One of the most emotional moments was during telephone connections that were made with Toni Comín and Lluís Puig, Catalan ministers in exile in Belgium, who addressed themselves directly to Carme Forcadell. The start of the event was timed to coincide with the moment when prisoners are scheduled go outside to spend their regulation time in the prison courtyard: 12:45pm.

Carme Forcadell, facing a charge of rebellion for which the prosecution is calling for a 17-year prison term, will be transferred to a Madrid prison in a question of days, along with the other eight jailed pro-independence civil and political leaders. The trial in Spain's Supreme Court of a total of 12 defendants on charges arising from the 2017 Catalan referendum and the broader independence process is expected to begin in late January.