Catalan politicians struggle with Spanish prison regime

By Tuesday November 28th, 2017 No Comments

BBC News / Barcelona  28/11/2017   – By James Reynolds

“We’re in here with murderers,” noted one of the imprisoned Catalan politicians with incredulity.

Once he realised this was his new home, he decided to get down to practicalities. He got hold of a basketball and looked for a game of prison hoops. Eight men and women who once governed seven million Catalans are now having to ask their families to put money onto pre-paid cards in order to be able to buy a packet of biscuits from the prison store. They are being held in two separate jails. A third prison, near Madrid, holds two prominent pro-independence activists: Jordi Sànchez, 53, and Jordi Cuixart, 42 (in a confusing feature of both Catalan society and this particular article, many Catalans are named Jordi, after the region’s patron saint.)

The two are under investigation for sedition over a protest in September, in which a crowd blocked Civil Guard officers inside a building in Barcelona. “When they arrived in the Soto del Real prison near Madrid, five or six prisoners shouted ‘Long live Spain, Long live the Constitution.'” said Jordi Sànchez’s lawyer, Jordi Pina, “Jordi Sànchez said to the guard ‘Should I go in or not?’ The guard told the prisoners to quieten down and he went in.”

The two imprisoned activists have since been split up. Jordi Sànchez, a round man who speaks in the measured tone of an academic, shares a cell with an older Peruvian inmate. Jordi Cuixart, whose long hair and ear-rings might allow him to pass as the leader of a rock band, bunks with an Irish prisoner.

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