Junqueras Strengthened by Prison

The president and leading candidate for left-wing pro-independence party Esquerra Republicana (ERC) said that if he wins the election, there’s no reason to think that he won’t be able to be sworn in as president, since he has the right to attend the investiture session. In an interview with Catalan radio station Rac1, the main candidate for ERC stated that he’s in prison because he never hides what he does and he’s consistent with “his decisions, thoughts and feelings”. Asked about post-electoral discussions, he said that he’s in favor of “consensus” and a “united” government. This is Junqueras’ first interview with a radio station since he’s been in jail in Madrid.

Despite his imprisonment, Junqueras, deposed after the enforcement of Article 155, is optimistic about the future.

“Being in prison helps to strengthen your soul, it makes you stronger and makes you feel more convinced of what you’ve always represented. In that sense, I’m full of energy, happy and very happy to talk to you because it hasn’t been easy,”

In a brief interview, the main candidate for ERC also thanked citizens for their support.

“I’m deeply grateful to people from all over, but particularly to the people of Catalonia for their perseverance, their efforts and their generosity.”

Although he didn’t explain his daily life in prison, he pointed out that he reads, writes and does many things that he “wasn’t able to do until now”.

The number two candidate on the Together for Catalonia (JxCat) ticket, headed by Carles Puigdemont, has been in prison in the Madrid region for over two months without bail, on charges of sedition and rebellion. The ANC president and pro-independence activist, Jordi Sànchez, decided to take part in the electoral campaign from behind bars, but now, according to JcXat’s campaign director, it is no longer possible to communicate with him.

“We cannot talk to Jordi Sànchez,”

Elta Artadi said via Twitter on Monday morning.

“He is not allowed to communicate with his family, or to show his support for president Puigdemont,”

Artadi lamented what she called the “punishment” carried out against Sànchez after an audio message of his was broadcast at a party campaign event in Barcelona on Friday. In the message, Sànchez stated that…

“the only victory Rajoy cannot hide or manipulate is that of president Puigdemont.”

Following the campaign event began, prison officials entered and searched the jailed candidate’s cell, according to Artadi, in the hunt for a cell phone.

Spain’s interior ministry opened official inquiries today (Monday) into former vice president Oriol Junqueras and former ANC president Jordi Sànchez, both of whom are standing in the upcoming Catalan election despite being held in prisons in the Madrid region.

The investigations into Junqueras and Sànchez, who are candidates for the Esquerra (ERC) and Together for Catalonia (JxCat) tickets respectively, come after both men took part in election campaign messages from prison, where they await trial for rebellion and sedition.

The Rac 1 radio station broadcast an interview with Junqueras on Monday, while an audio message from Sànchez was played at a JxCat campaign event on Friday. The ministry will now decide whether to punish the men for using lines of communication meant for private contact to issue political statements.

Sources in the prison service say that Junqueras has admitted using a telephone call to a friend to conduct the brief interview that was played on the radio on Monday. Junqueras has the right to talk to family members by phone, although the calls must last no longer than five minutes.

As for Sànchez, he recorded a message played at Friday’s JxCat campaign event in Barcelona. As reported by Catalan News, Sànchez’s campaign manager claimed on Monday that communication with the candidate had been cut. “He is not allowed to communicate with his family, to show his support for president Puigdemont,” said Elsa Artadi on Twitter.

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