Protests mark 7 months since pro-independence activists jailed
On October 16, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart were sent to pre-trial prison for their role in the Catalan independence roadmap
This is not the first protest held to denounce the incarceration of the Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, as well as other pro-independence officials held in custody awaiting trial. In fact, it’s the 7th.
Organized by ANC and Òmnium, the protest on May 16 not only demanded the release of all officials in jail, but additionally, celebrated that the Belgian courts rejected extradition orders issued by Spain against three deposed Catalan officials in Brussels.
Present at the demonstration was the new Catalan president-elect, Quim Torra. This was his first public event since he won the parliamentary election for the post. Although now set to be sworn in to lead the government in a matter of hours, Quim Torra has personal ties to one of the grassroots organization, as he headed Òmnium Cultural before Jordi Cuixart.
It’s been half a year and one month since the two grassroots leaders, known as ‘the Jordis,’ were incarcerated for their roles as leaders of organizations Catalan National Assembly (ANC, Sànchez), and Òmnium Cultural (Cuixart), accused of rebellion for their actions leading up to Catalonia’s declaration of independence.
The charges of rebellion carry up to 30 years in prison, and Sànchez and Cuixart aren’t the only ones facing this. There are other officials in jail as well, and the protests in the name of Cuixart and Sànchez’s release have come to include the others behind bars, as well. Even the president-elect, Quim Torra, due to take his oath to be invested as 131st Catalan president, was present at the protest.
These names include deposed Catalan ministers Quim Forn and Oriol Junqueras, as well as Raül Romeva, Jordi Turull, Josep Rull, Dolors Bassa; this, alongside the former Catalan parliament speaker Carme Forcadell. In total, nine Catalan leaders are in custody.
While in prison, Sànchez resigned from his post at the ANC to join the deposed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont’s party in an election last December. Pro-independence parties held on to a narrow majority in parliament, and Sànchez was nominated as president after Puigdemont’s bid for the post was blocked by Spain.
Ultimately, Quim Torra was appointed as the new head of government. The new Catalan president-elect, on the same electoral ticket as Sànchez, has also proclaimed that one of his first acts as president will be to visit incarcerated officials.