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A prisons court judge in Catalonia has annulled the extensive prison leave rights of two convicted pro-independence politicians: former Catalan labour minister, Dolors Bassa, and former speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell. Both were convicted to prison sentences for sedition in 2019 for their roles in the Catalan independence process and the referendum of 1st October 2017, but in January this year, they had, for the second time, been granted a "Level 3" prison regime which meant they only had to return to the prison to sleep from Monday to Thursday.

The judge of Catalonia Penitentiary Surveillance Court number 1 upheld the public prosecutors' appeal against the Level 3 regime after studying the parties' arguments, although he had initially refused to suspend the leave privileges on an interim basis as the prosecutors had requested.

The court decision refers to the fact that Forcadell and Bassa have not modified their criminal conduct: it speaks of  a "lack of modification of those personality traits directly related to the criminal activity, as required by Article 65.2 of the Prisons Law, because the inmate continues to consider that the actions for which she was convicted do not constitute a crime." Thus, it cannot yet be guaranteed that the goals of “re-education and resociabilization” have been met.

"Neither should the [prisoners'] recognition of the facts, or the detection of risk factors, despite being commendable for the good outcome of the treatment, be the sole goal", notes the court, "since prison treatment, as a set of activities aimed at reintegration and re-education, cannot be separated from the crimes which the reason for the sentence ".

Another judge, with jurisdiction over the Lledoners prison in Central Catalonia, has already annulled the same leave rights for the other seven Catalan political prisoners: Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Cuixart, Josep Rull, Jordi Turull, Quim Forn and Raül Romeva. This was decided on March 9th, with the judge concluding that "the progression agreed on in the contested resolution [to grant the Level 3 regime] must be considered as hasty". For these pre-independence prisoners, the judge accepted all the public prosecutors's arguments centred on their alleged failure to recognize their crime. “Not even a minimum assumption of criminal responsibility can be seen in them, in the sense of recognizing that they broke basic rules of socail harmony,” said the judge with regard to the seven male prisoners.

 

 

Today's ruling on the two female political prisoners says it cannot maintain the Level 3 open prison regime with the same arguments used in 2020, when the two jailed politicians were granted the open regime for the first time, as since then the Spanish Supreme Court has overturned that decision, and the circumstances applying now are very similar.

Consquently, as occurred with the seven male prisoners, Forcadell and Bassas will have to return this Tuesday to their respective prisons: Wad-ras, in Barcelona city; and Puig de les Basses in Figueres. Tomorrow for the first day since Catalan justice department officials granted them Level 3 rights in January, they will have to remain in jail, controlled under a standard lock-up prison regime.

 

Court ruling on DolorsBassa; above, the ruling on Carme Forcadell.

 

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