Several people have asked me about the imprisonment of two independence leaders, Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart. Otherwise known as the ‘Two Jordis’
(By the way Cuixart is pronounced ‘Kwee-shart’ – just to make reading his name a bit easier.)
They are in prison without bail while being investigated for the crime of sedition.
Sedition : incitement of resistance to or insurrection against lawful authority
If found guilty they could be imprisoned for up to 15 years.
On September 20th and 21st there were massive demonstrations in Barcelona as Spanish police carried out sweeping raids and arrested officials, in an attempt to stop the proposed referendum. Sanchez and Cuixart are accused of leading the protests of those nights.
The question now being asked is, are there now political prisoners once again in Spain? Obviously the Spanish government and their supporters say they are not political prisoners but are accused of acting illegally. The Catalan government and many others say they are in prison because of their political beliefs and they are there without bail because for political reasons the Spanish government wants to send a strong signal to the Catalans to back down.
There is also the matter of the questionable independence of the judge who sent them to jail. For years there has been international concern that the Spanish judiciary is far too controlled by politicians. For a democracy to function well these two powerful arms of the state need to be independent of each other.
Cuixart and Sanchez are the presidents of two civic pro-independence societies – Omnium Cultural and ANC. They are powerful and influential lobbies within Catalunya. ANC formed around 2009 and has over 40.000 members. It was the chief organiser of the massive independence rally on September 11th in 2011 when more than a million people peacefully lined the streets of Barcelona. Omnium dates back to 1961 when its main focus was the protection of the Catalan language during Franco’s times. Omnium is the biggest cultural and civic association in the whole of Catalunya.
So you see both these men are very important in the current situation and their imprisonment is a very deliberate attempt to weaken the independence movement.
But of course the opposite has happened. With their incarceration, awaiting a trial, there have been even more and bigger protests and people are outraged that this is the response of the Spanish government to the crisis. Rather than try to find fair and creative solutions, more and more heavy-handed suppressive measures are being used.
I can’t think of any similar huge democratic organisations in the UK which would have such widespread and heart felt support. Would ordinary people in the UK take pots and pans to their balconies every night to make a noisy cassolada protest? Imagine ordinary people taking to the streets day after day in the!r hundreds of thousands to peacefully protest and to call for change! Old and young, students, rich, poor, people from all classes. It takes a lot to keep up a protest and to have your life disrupted on a long term basis.
It takes a huge desire to be heard, an inner strength and courage even when there are threats of police violence. And when people like the two Jordis are sent to jail without bail, for who knows how long. They are now starting their third night in a Madrid prison called Soto de Real.
Many of the posters that hang on balconies or are taped around lamp-posts are of faces – with a line across the mouth.
People are sick and tired of being silenced and not heard.
- Pep Guardiola has dedicated the last match of Manchester City in the Champions League to The Jordis and said that it is like we are all there in prison with them
- Meanwhile back in Catalunya, there is yet another deadline. Tomorrow Rajoy wants a reply from Puigdemont about the UDI or else!
A political prisoner is someone imprisoned because they have opposed or criticized the government responsible for their imprisonment.
The term is used by persons or groups challenging the legitimacy of the detention of a prisoner. Supporters of the term define a political prisoner as someone who is imprisoned for his or her participation in political activity. If a political offense was not the official reason for the prisoner’s detention, the term would imply that the detention was motivated by the prisoner’s politics.