Transfer dates set for political prisoners

The anguish of not knowing when their loved ones will be sent to Madrid ended yesterday, for the families of the nine Catalan political prisoners, as Magistrate Manual Marchenas, the president of the court of seven judges which will oversee their trial, asked the Minister of the Interior, to make the prisoners available in Madrid in the last week of January. It would seem that the trial will commence on the 29th of January, with sessions taking place Tuesday to Thursday. The Supreme Court is in a hurry to get proceedings underway since the preventative custody of the prisoners has lasted so long, despite their not being accused of a violent or deadly crime. Legally, however, they can be held before trial up to two years, extendable by a further two. Anticipating complaints, Marchena, in his letter to Minister Grande-Merlaska outlined that article 33 of the penitentiary code requires that prisoners be present at the nearest detention centre to their trial a minimum of 30 days in advance, whilst criminal justice laws require this to happen the moment a trial date is set. He pointed out that neither of these laws ought to prejudice the right of the prisoners to “safety, security, and dignity” and as such asked that the transfer be held off until the last week of January.

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