Today, 16 October, exactly one year has passed since Jordi Sànchez, then President of the Assemblea Nacional Catalana (ANC) and Jordi Cuixart, President of Òmnium Cultural (ÒC), have been in preventive detention, accused of rebellion and sedition for having defended freedom and democracy and having exercised such fundamental rights as that of nonviolent protest.
Sànchez and Cuixart are currently immersed in a lawsuit tainted from the very outset by countless irregularities. Indeed, preventive detention itself, applied in this case with the clear intention of instilling fear into the citizenry, is an anomaly since it may normally be used only as a last resort. And yet they have now been in prison for one year, first at Soto del Real penitentiary, in Madrid, and since last July at Lledoners prison, near Barcelona.
Indeed, yesterday Amnesty International issued a statement calling for the “immediate” release of Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, adding that their preventive detention was “unjustifiable” since both enjoyed the right to “organise and foster peaceful gatherings in support of the referendum and the independence of Catalonia”.
A set of false accusations
The lawsuit is based on invented, non-existent acts of violence attributed to Sànchez and Cuixart when, on 20 September 2017, Spanish forces of law and order ransacked the Department of Economy and other departments of the Generalitat. Thousands of demonstrators peacefully rallied there throughout the entire day to protest.
Despite this attitude of nonviolence on the part of demonstrators, the State has generated an invented account of events, the falseness of which is readily observable in videos, photographs and eye-witness accounts which have been brought together in a number of documentaries which show that the two civil leaders even negotiated with the Civil Guard to enable the searchers to leave the building without incident.
Even so, the investigation takes this false account as its basis, thereby judicialising what is a political issue and making it clear that there is no separation of powers in Spain, which casts serious doubts on the quality of Spanish democracy and marks the re-emergence of the concept of political prisoners in 21st-century Europe.
The citizenry mobilises once again
Once more, the ANC demands the annulment of the lawsuit which has kept Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart in prison. And to expose and protest against such injustice the citizenry will take to the streets again today. Sovereigntist entities like the ANC and ÒC have organised a number of rallies, the largest of which will take place in Plaça Catalunya, in the heart of Barcelona, at 20 h.