On Tuesday, the Generalitat (Catalan government) ratified the 3rd degree category status for all the Catalan political prisoners. The “semi-liberty” regime means they can leave prison on weekends, but continue to spend weeknights behind bars.
They were locked behind bars during a 2 year long pre-trial detention before being sentenced last October to serve prison terms of 9 to 13 years by Spain’s Supreme Court, an unfair decision that caused social unrest across the country.
On July 2, the prison boards proposed the 3rd degree status for the nine jailed Catalan leaders: Carme Forcadell, Dolors Bassa, Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Turull, Raül Romeva, Josep Rull, Joaquim Forn, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez. This was ratified by the Catalan justice department on Tuesday.
Nevertheless, the final decision rests with the Spanish Supreme Court. The Prosecutor’s Office has already announced that it will appeal. Awaiting the court’s final decision, the jailed Catalan leaders will continue enjoying the third degree status.
Minister of the Presidency, Meritxell Budó, said on this matter: “I could tell them that it is good news that they have given the third degree to the prisoners, but they should be released.”
Jailed Catalan leader Raül Romeva: “Third degree is just another way to continue to pay a 12-year prison sentence and disqualification.”
Romeva: “Tonight I will spend my 875th night in prison. Tomorrow, the 876th. And so on, because the third degree status is just another way to continue serving a sentence of 12 years in prison and disqualification. Freedom is not the third degree, but it is amnesty. “
It’s worth mention that the third degree (“semi-liberty”) regime is not freedom. The jailed Catalan leaders are political prisoners who should not have been sent to prison in the first place, as several international human rights organizations have repeatedly said.