Junts per Catalunya MP Jordi Sànchez, who is being held on pre-trial detention in Spain’s Soto del Real prison, has revealed the punishment that he has been imposed by the prison’s authorities for having made a voice recording that was used in the campaign ahead of the December elections in Catalonia. In a message on Twitter, Sànchez has explained that he will not be allowed to communicate with Núria Guillaumes, the Catalan National Assembly’s general manager, for six months. Guillaumes is the person who received Sànchez’s voice recording. The JxCat MP has been moved to a different prison wing and will have to spend 18 hours a day locked up in his cell.
That is the decision taken by Spain’s Secretary General of Penitentiary Institutions following Jordi Sànchez’s recording of a voice message from prison which was later played at the main campaign rally of Junts per Catalunya. Sànchez, who took the second slot on the JxCat slate and is the latest name to have been suggested for the post of president of Catalonia, finished off his Twitter post with the word #freedom written in Catalan and a picture of some galloping mustangs.
Sources close to Sànchez’s legal counsel have confirmed that the decision was taken a few months ago, but was only implemented in early April. The same sources indicated that Puigdemont’s deputy is allowed to leave his prison cell only in the morning and must remain confined in the afternoon.
In his voice message, the former Catalan National Assembly leader stated that the only “political opponent” in the December elections was Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy and not the Ciudadanos, PP and PSC candidates. His election team mentioned that the recording was made on December 3, before Sànchez was formally given permission to take part in the election campaign. Nevertheless, they argue that it wasn’t used until December 15, once judge Pablo Llarena had allowed him “to address his voters”. Jordi Sànchez has been imprisoned in Soto del Real since October 16.
Not allowed on the campaign trail
On December 14, the Supreme Court dismissed Sànchez’s request for leave so that he might join the campaign trail. The Spanish judge decided to hold him in Soto del Real and denied him all contact with news organisations and internet access, outside of what inmates are allowed by the penitentiary’s rules and regulations.
Still, the judge noted that Sànchez’s “capacity to address his voters is not totally diminished at present” and that his eligibility as a candidate was tied to that of his peers on the candidacy, who were fully engaged in the election campaign.