Catalan detainee's partner vows 'fight will go on'

'Cuixart's sentence will show referendum was legitimate'

10 January, 17:35

    (by Gaetana D'Amico) (ANSAmed) - BARCELONA, JANUARY 10 - ''I would never, ever have thought Jordi would be arrested and imprisoned. But the trial he is awaiting will prove that what he did was legitimate - and that the referendum on self-determination was legitimate.'' Txell Bonet can't stop talking.

    The 43-year-old journalist is the partner of Jordi Cuixart, head of the Catalan separatist organization Omnium Cultural, who has been in jail since October 2017 after a referendum on Catalan independence in which over 80% of voters were in favor of it.

    Some 2.3 million of the 5.3 eligible to vote did so. The situation worsened sharply after a proclamation of independence by Catalonia president Carles Puigdemont, which was immediately rejected by Madrid.

    The Spanish central government took control of the Catalan parliament and charged its leaders with crimes. Cuixart has been charged with 'rebellion' for having pushed forward with the political plan for independence, a crime that carries a sentence of 30 years in prison. However, the trial against him has not yet started, nor has a hearing been held on possibly releasing him on bail. Also in jail are other civil society members such as Jordi Sanchez, as well as several politicians including the former deputy president of Catalonia, Oriol Junqueras. In the Omnium headquarters in central Barcelona, Cuixart's partner told a group of foreign journalists about what has ensued concerning the case in recent months.

    ''They are trying to destroy us but they will not succeed,'' Txell, who has an 18-month-old son with Jordi, said. ''January 15 is the final deadline for the defense team to present documentation. After that - two or three weeks later - the trial date should be set. At that point we will be able to prove the irregularities in the Spanish justice system.'' ''But even if he is found guilty,'' she stressed, ''our fight for independence will continue.'' ''He is very optimistic and strong,'' she said. ''I always say: he is in prison, what could happen to him that is worse? Our families lived through the dictatorship period and we are used to difficult situations. I don't have any regrets. Neither does he.'' She noted that protests had been held for his release both at Christmas and New Year's Eve. Since Cuixart's arrest, Omnium Cultural has had to adapt ''but it has not lost its principles and its aims, which are to spread social cohesion, integration of the Catalan language and culture and defending human rights,'' said Marcel Mauri, vice president of the organization, which counts some 133,000 members. Mauri has taken on ever more responsibility since Cuixart's arrest but he stresses that he has not taken his place and that even from prison Cuixart ''continues to defend human rights''. ''Of course we made some mistakes,'' he admitted, citing ''that of not believing that a modern European state would respond with violence to a proposal for dialogue. But we are the only ones paying the price for that mistake.'' Mauri added that ''if the Spanish justice system is fair, the leaders will be acquitted. However, even if they are found guilty, we are ready to take the case to the Strasbourg court.'' ''The only way to get past this stalemate is independence.

    And we are always prepared for dialogue, but Madrid continues not to respond to our requests. The polls in any case confirm that the population's will is ever stronger. the question is: for how long will Madrid continue to ignore the fact that most want independence?''. (ANSAmed).

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