The main candidate for the pro-independence Junts per Catalunya candidacy, Jordi Sànchez, is holding a press conference hosted by the Spanish EFE press agency from the Soto del Real prison, in the Madrid region. Sànchez’s press conference is the first with video images since any of the pro-independence leaders were imprisoned in the fall of 2017. “After 550 days in prison, this is my first opportunity to speak to Catalan citizens,” he said shortly after the event began.

Currently facing trial in Spain’s Supreme Court along with 11 other politicians and activists, Sànchez is charged with violent rebellion for leading pro-independence protests when president of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) ahead of the 2017 referendum.

During his press conference, the activist also talked about the trial currently taking place in Spain’s Supreme Court. “I have the certainty that I am innocent, nothing of what we’ve seen in our trial justifies prison.” Sànchez added that he does not “expect anything different that acquittal” in the verdict. “This would compromise the justice’s neutrality.”

Sànchez also called on the Socialist party to engage in discussions to agree an independence referendum in Catalonia. “One way or another, I’m sure the Socialists will accept our conditions [an independence referendum] and abide by its historic responsibility – the greatest in Spain’s recent history”, he said via videolink from Soto del Real prison.