Catalan political prisoners: prison boards unanimously propose granting them level 3 status

Catalonia’s Justice Ministry still needs to ratify the decision, which the Prosecutor will be opposing

Dolors Bassa / JORDI ROVIRALTA

On Thursday the prison boards of the Lledoners, Puig de les Basses and Wad-Ras facilities proposed that all the Catalan political prisoners be granted level 3 status now that it is six months since they were upgraded to level 2, which is a legal prerequisite. The decision was unanimous and, once validated by the Catalan authorities —something that might take up to two months—, Oriol Junqueras, Carme Forcadell, Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Cuixart, Dolors Bassa, Josep Rull, Joaquim Forn, Jordi Turull and Raül Romeva will be allowed to sleep at home at the weekend.

Furthermore, they will be put on a waiting list of inmates hoping to be transferred to an open facility or a government-supervised flat. Catalonia’s Justice Ministry will now need to validate or dismiss the proposal from the prison boards. These are typically ratified and a counterproposal is only made in 7 per cent of the cases.

So far Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart have spent 990 days in prison, over 800 in the case of the other political prisoners. Level 3 status does no mean that their prison sentence will be shortened. Once ratified by the Justice Ministry, the Prosecutor might lodge and appeal with the court of penitentiary surveillance, as happened when the Catalan prisoners were granted their first prison benefits. Ultimately it will be for Spain’s Supreme Court to rule on the matter.

Level 3 status means that the jailed pro-independence leaders could possibly benefit from Article 86.4 of the Prison Rules and Regulations, which allows inmates to sleep at home during the week, too. Amand Calderó, the director of the Catalan government’s Prison Service, stated that this “would not immediately apply” and he noted that, if they did benefit from this article “which is a common occurrence in Catalonia”, they would still be “closely” monitored.

The news broke when the political prisoners were at their places of employment or doing voluntary work. Òmnium Cultural president Jordi Cuixart was the first to respond on Twitter.

In a statement, Òmnium Cultural pointed out that level 3 status is “neither a privilege nor a prize: it is something all convicts are entitled to and another way of serving their prison term”. So far all attempts to secure the prisoners’ release have been stopped in their tracks. UGT, the trade union she is a member of, announced that they would be requesting an official pardon for Dolors Bassa. Unidas Podemos and the PSOE said they supported the idea of amending the crime of sedition, which the Catalan leaders were convicted of. Meanwhile, the main pro-independence parties in Catalonia insist on an amnesty.