Two former Catalan ministers, Joaquim Forn and JxCat MP Josep Rull, have joined the hunger strike begun by Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Turull on Saturday December 1. On Monday afternoon they released a statement indicating that they would stop eating any food as of midnight.
In their statement the two Catalan leaders announced that “we are joining the peaceful protest which our colleagues Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Turull have begun and we will refuse to eat any food starting at 00 h on Tuesday. With this action we aim to denounce the Constitutional Court’s stalling tactics, which are arbitrary and unjust, and prevent us from turning to the European Court of Human Rights”.
So the reason for their protest is the same: to put Spain’s Constitutional Court on the spot and urge its members to resolve, one way or another, all the appeals on the grounds of unconstitutionality which the prisoners’ legal teams have filed to date. The Catalan leaders claim that the Spanish court is stalling its decisions in order to prevent them from taking matters with the ECHR: it has agreed to see every one of their appeals, but has not made a decision on any of them. The lawyers that represent the Catalan leaders have pointed out that this is in stark contrast with the court’s record so far: fewer than 2 per cent of all appeals on the grounds of unconstitutionality have ever been allowed.
Forn and Rull have stated that their decision “is consistent and properly thought-through”, as well as “pondered during many hours of introspection and reflection, after which we concluded that we have no other way of claiming our basic rights but to use this extreme form of peaceful protest”.
Political parties and grassroots groups in talks to carry out support actions
With Forn and Rull, a total of four political prisoners are now on a hunger strike, a non-violent form of protest. Three of the Catalan leaders are also JxCat MPs (former minister Forn gave up his seat in parliament at the start of this term). Ahead of the current scenario, on Friday evening Òmnium Cultural released a group photograph of the seven male prisoners in the Lledoners facility, which sought to send “a message of unity” and their commitment “to respect” any form of protest they might choose prior to the trial against them over their role in the October 1 referendum.
As reported earlier by the Catalan News Agency, this newspaper has confirmed that ERC and JxCat are discussing actions in support of the hunger strike with the pro-independence grassroots groups. On Saturday Junts per Catalunya suggested “a fasting chain” to show “solidarity” and “amplify” the hunger strike by some of the prisoners.
Òmnium Cultural president Jordi Cuixart, who is also in jail, sent Forn and Rull a support message on Twitter shortly after their statement came out: “Two good men are joining the hunger strike. We have each other. At Òmnium we solemnly vow to ensure that they’ll never walk alone, no matter what”, he wrote.