The Assemblea Nacional Catalana (ANC) states that the transfer of the Catalan political prisoners is not a political concession, but a legal obligation, and demands that they be released and that the case be shelved

Six of the nine political prisoners are now in Catalan penitentiary centres. Yesterday, Oriol Junqueras, Raül Romeva, Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Cuixart, Carme Forcadell and Dolors Bassa were transferred from Madrid to Catalonia. The men are now at Els Lledoners prison (Sant Joan de Vilatorrada) and the women at Puig de les Basses (Figueres).

The ANC views this move not as a political gesture but rather as a right acknowledged in Spanish legislation itself. A right the granting of which has been delayed too long.

The ANC demands that all nine prisoners be released, since preventive detention is an aberration in the case of individuals who merely exercised their rights as citizens and democratically carried out the will of the people in a peaceful and civic-minded way.

Rallies outside the prisons

On the occasion of the transfer, yesterday the ANC and other civil-society entities organised two pro-freedom marches from the towns and villages closest to the penitentiary centres to the very gates or at least the vicinities of the prisons to express their condemnation of these internments. Thousands of people were there, clamouring for the prisoners’ release.

At Lledoners, the Chairperson of the Assemblea Nacional Catalana, Elisenda Paluzie, said that the rally was not just to demand the release of the prisoners and the exiles’ return; it was also to exact that the case be shelved because of which they remain held in prison, something she regarded as an “ignominy” in both the Spanish and European judiciary in that it violates individual and collective rights.

For Paluzie, only the Catalan Republic “will break the locks of these prisons” and open the door through which our exiles may come back home. “Nobody will stop us until we achieve this!” she exclaimed.

From Puig de les Basses, the other rallying point, the Assembly Vice-Chairperson, Pep Cruanyes, also called for the “unconditional” release of all the political prisoners, “without any charges”, and alerted those present to the fact that ad hoc courts had reappeared in the Spanish State. “The Supreme High Court and the National High Court are ad hoc courts which have invented offences in order to deny people their freedom”, he concluded.

Cruanyes described the Spanish State as an “authoritarian State that violates fundamental rights by applying political repression”, and stressed that the State has dusted off the “old political repression manual” to re-apply it. For Cruanyes, “penalising civil rights” is inconceivable.

If over the next few days the transfer to Catalan penitentiaries is confirmed of Joaquim Forn, Jordi Turull and Josep Rull, who are still held in Estremera prison, new rallies will be organised, among which one on July 14, convened by the Assemblea Nacional Catalana together with other entities, a march through the streets of Barcelona calling for the release of Catalan political prisoners.