The Prosecutor's Office has maintained its position in opposition to the political prisoners' being granted prison leave. Although a judge had granted Jordi Cuixart’s request for a 72-hour leave, against the Prison Oversight Judge’s advice, the Public Prosecutor has filed an appeal to be submitted to the Provincial Court of Barcelona, requesting the decision be overturned. In its statement the Prosecutor’s Office argues that the president of Òmnium’s 72-hour leave is "premature" since he still has a long time left to serve of the nine-year prison sentence handed down by the Supreme Court for sedition. It is also "unjustified" since he has failed to “show regret" for his crimes, and "improper", since Cuixart is not undergoing a treatment program and, according to the prosecutor, being granted leave might "undermine the preventive aspect of his sentence". In other words, it might give the impression that committing a crime has gone virtually unpunished.
In its initial statement to the court, the Prosecutor's Office relied mainly on Cuixart's phrase "we’ll do it again" to justify its claim that the president of Òmnium is unrepentant and, therefore, might reoffend. The Prison Oversight Judge green lighted the leave and told the Prosecutor that Cuixart's remark ought to be considered "an expression of political and ideological thought", rather than an expression of his intent to reoffend. In its appeal, the Prosecutor’s Office insists that Cuixart displays "significant cognitive distortions, since he denies the criminal nature of his behaviour" and that these in turn prevent him from changing his attitude and showing regret.
A longer process
Any leave that exceeds two days requires a judge to sign off on them. The same applies to article 100.2, which allows offenders to leave the prison to engage in voluntary or paid work, or care for a family member for several hours a day. The difference, however, is that leave cannot be enjoyed until a court has made a final decision, while offenders can leave prison on short, scheduled leave as soon as they are authorised by the Parole Board, even without the court’s approval. This explains why Cuixart is allowed to leave Lledoners prison 5 days a week to work at his company and engage in voluntary work, although he has to return every evening. Jordi Sànchez, Carme Forcadell, Dolors Bassa and Joaquim Forn have also taken advantage of regular daytime leave.
Up until now the Prosecutor's Office has opposed the granting of both kinds of leave and scheduled leave, citing the gravity of the crimes committed, the lack of repentance and the premature timing of the measure. In the case of a 72-hour prison leave, the approval process will take even longer. The Prison Oversight Judge will have to consider the arguments presented by the Public Prosecutor and Cuixart’s defence team —which has a right to present its case at this point in the procedure— before referring the case to the Provincial Court of Barcelona, who will make the final decision.
With regard to the application of Article 100.2 of the prison service's rules and regulations, the judge who hears cases related to Lledoners prison has yet to make a decision. They will be responsible for ruling on the scheduled leave which Cuixart is already enjoying and also those relating to Sànchez and Forn. Forcadell and Bassa's prison leave, to care for a family member in both instances, will be in the hands of two different Prison Oversight Courts.