US daily The Washington Post has observed that the "plight" of the Catalan political prisoners is a "stumbling block" in negotiations between Catalonia and the Spanish state, in the quest to find a political solution.
In an article published this Thursday, the newspaper described one of the regular rallies outside Lledoners prison in central Catalonia in solidarity with the imprisoned political leaders held inside the jail, noting the joy of those present when a prisoner was seen waving a pro-independence estelada flag behind a barred prison window.
"Jailed Catalan separatists, together with those who fled abroad to avoid prosecution by Spain, have become an emotional symbol of what many perceive as Spain’s heavy-handed attempt to crush the independence movement in Catalonia. They are also a key stumbling block in negotiations trying to find a way out of the political deadlock, Spain’s worst constitutional crisis in decades," says the Post.
The newspaper explains that when Spanish president Pedro Sánchez came to power, he approved the transfer of the prisoners from Madrid prisons to penitentiaries in Catalonia, but that this is insufficient for the Catalan authorities, who demand the public prosecutor should change its position and release the prisoners.
"The central government, which appoints the top prosecutor, is sticking to the line that the separatists are receiving due process according to Spanish law. But some officials have acknowledged that dialogue would be easier with the Catalans out of jail", says the US daily. It notes that both the Spanish foreign minister, Josep Borrell, and the minister of territorial affairs, Meritxell Batet, have made statements along these lines.