Spain's Supreme Court has definitively revoked the prison privileges granted earlier this year to the nine jailed Catalan pro-independence leaders. This means that all nine of the prisoners have now definitively lost the ability to have regular leave from the jail during the days, and for entire weekends. The court also toughened their prison regime further by ruling that the leave permissions they had been granted for work outside the prison could not stand, due to the lack of connection of such activity to a "reintegration process".
Spain's highest court, which also tried their case in 2019, has decided to revoke the Level 3 or open prison regime, granted in July by the Catalan justice department to the nine, who were serving prison terms of 9 to 13 years for sedition and misuse of funds. The court considers that the open regime is "premature" and affirms that more time needs to pass in order to properly assess the evolution of each inmate and his or her prison "treatment", especially when considering the long sentences which the pro-independence leaders are serving, with none of them yet having served half their sentence, and most not even a quarter.
The court thus accepts the appeals made by prosecutors against the move to the Level 3 regime granted by Catalan justice department professionals and ratified later by the prison surveillance courts, so that the seven men and two women will have to return definitively to a standard Level 2 regime with far more limited opportunities to be allowed leave outside the prison. It also agrees with the prosecution position that the granting of leave to the prisoners for daytime jobs or voluntary work outside the prison, under article 100.2 of the Penitentiary Regulations, was incorrectly applied, and thus strips all nine prisoners of access to this privilege as well, reiterating the arguments made with regard to Carme Forcadell last July in a hearing which provided a blueprint for the current appeal. At that time the Supreme Court ruled that such work leave was inappropriate due to its lack of a connection as a treatment programme with any process of "reintegration following the crimes committed".
The court that dictated the proceedings today was made up of Manuel Marchena as president, Andrés Martínez Arrieta, Juan Ramón Berdugo, Antonio del Moral, Andrés Colom and Ana Ferrer.
In the nine rulings, all of similar content, the judges explain that the concession of Level 3 to an inmate who has not fulfilled a quarter of their sentence - which is the case of all nine, except Jordi Cuixart, Jordi Sánchez and Joaquim Forn - is exceptional and demands "an especially strong justification, logically, in comparison to that required in cases where an inmate who has already served a quarter of their sentence is proposed for Level 3 regime."
The nine pro-independence leaders, who were convicted by the Supreme Court in October 2019 of sedition in relation to the Catalan independence process and referendum of October 1st, 2017 are: former Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras (jailed for 13 years), former Catalan Parliament speaker Carme Forcadell (11 years 6 months), civil society leaders Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart (both 9 years), and former Catalan government ministers Jordi Turull, Raül Romeva, Dolors Bassa (all 12 years), Josep Rull and Joaquim Forn (both 10 years 6 months). All nine were found guilty of sedition while Junqueras, Romeva, Turull and Bassa were also convicted for misuse of public funds.