The five Catalan political prisoners which won seats in the 28-A Spanish elections are back in jail. Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Turull, Josep Rull, Jordi Sànchez and Raül Romeva were transferred back to Soto del Real on Tuesday evening, right after taking their seats in the Spanish Cambers.
The Supreme Court allowed them to leave preventive jail so that they could up their seats, but they are likely to be suspended almost immediately, at leat while the trial continues. The Catalan leaders were
escorted to parliament by the police to collect their credentials. They were given bags embossed with the seal of the Spanish parliament that contained an iPhone and a tablet but were unable to take these when they went back to prison.
Although they were not allowed to answer any questions from the press, they released videos online and posted them on their social profiles, reiterating their calls for independence and denouncing Spain’s repression. “Your votes make us free”, said Junqueras.
In a similar sense, Catalan VP Pere Aragonès, who travelled to Madrid to show the Government’s and his party’s support to the prisoners, emphasised the importance of the moment. “The fact that despite the repression, Oriol Junqueras and Raul Romeva took their seats in parliament today is in itself a victory against repression”, he said.
Taking oaths as ‘political prisoners’
“True to my republican commitments, as a political prisoner and by legal obligation, yes I promise” to respect the Constitution, said Junqueras.
When they came to speak, Sanchez, Rull and Turull, who were elected under the JxCat banner, added: “By legal imperative and faithful to the democratic mandate of the Catalan people from the October 1 referendum.”
In the senate, Romeva, also took his oath: “Until the proclamation of the Catalan republic, always committed to freedom, equality, and fraternity, as a political prisoner and by legal imperative, I promise.”
Every time one of the Catalan leaders took their oath, MPs from far-right Vox party banged their desks and drowned out their voices. Mainly thanks to its fierce opposition to Catalan separatism, Vox obtained 24 seats in the Spanish Parliament, becoming the first far-right grouping in the Spanish parliament since the death of the dictator Francisco Franco in 1975. Vox is also popular acusation in the trial against the 12 pro-independence leaders and is calling for the maximum charges, implying more than 70 years in prison.
Conservative PP and Unionist Ciutadans were also outraged by the prisoners’ oaths and even presence in the Chamber. They considered it to be “humiliating” and called for the Spanish Parliament to take measures against them.
On his behalf, Junqueras approached former Spanish President Pedro Sánchez, gave him a handshake and ask him “to speak”, which he responded affirmatively.