With the public’s attention focused on the coronavirus crisis, the Catalan political prisoners seemed to have vanished from our recollection for several weeks. The abnormality of the lockdown appeared to dilute the memory of the outrage caused by the anomaly which the existence of political prisoners poses. It was as if one thing had replaced the other, as far as our attention was concerned.
To a large extent, the switch happened because we have been incredibly lucky: none of the political prisoners have caught the disease in jail. We have been extremely fortunate and we should be glad. But this bout of good luck has also benefitted someone who didn’t deserve it: the Spanish state itself. It didn’t because it has done none of the things that humanitarian groups across the board had requested: to allow prisoners to spend the lockdown at home, for health and safety reasons.
The Spanish state is certainly very lucky as, if the worst had happened, the tragic situation of Catalonia’s political prisoners would have been amplified to an unprecedented level. Amid the logical attention paid to the pandemic, now a damning report by Amnesty International, among other factors, has reminded us that we are living through the coronavirus indeed, but also that several people who shouldn’t be in jail remain locked up. I don’t think it is redundant to keep bring it up.