Most people think that Europe – and Spain – has moved on from jailing democratic politicians because of their political views; to do so is anti-democratic, the politics of the past not the future, more in common with the era of Francoist Repression than with liberal and social democracy, freedom, pluralism and progressive politics.
But today, seven Catalan politicians and two civil society leaders are in prison for their views on Catalan independence. This includes the former Vice-President of Catalonia, the former President of the Catalan Parliament, five former members of the Catalan Cabinet, as well as the former president of Òmnium Cultural, the association to promote the Catalan culture and language, and the former president of the Assemblea Nacional Catalana. Most have been held in ‘preventive detention’ for over a year. The former President of the Catalan Parliament has been held since March 2018. The case is only expected to begin on the 12th of February 2019.