Catalan political prisoners have ended today a hunger strike that started over two weeks ago to denounce Spain’s Constitutional Court delay in handling their appeals, which prevented them from bringing their cases to the European Court of Human Rights.

Pro-independence leaders Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Turull announced an indefinite hunger strike on December 1. Joaquim Forn, and Josep Rull, former ministers like Turull, then joined their protest two days later.

With the trial against pro-independence leaders due to start in Madrid in the coming weeks, a joint letter by former Catalan presidents and former parliament speakers urged the hunger strikers to stop the protest in order to save their strength for the proceedings.

Accomplished goals

The current Catalan president, Quim Torra, also urged jailed leaders to put an end to the hunger strike: “They are amazingly brave, but we’re feeling anxious about them.”

“Our goals have been accomplished,” said the four jailed leaders in a joint statement explaining the reasons for ending the protest. They claim having put the Constitutional Court under pressure, thus “unblocking” their cases.

Later on Thursday, the Constitutional Court rejected a petition for freedom by Jordi Sànchez, who invoked a recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights ordering Turkey to release a Kurdish dissident in pre-trial jail.

The hunger strike by jailed pro-independence leaders was widely reported by international media, and some members of the European Parliament sent a letter to Pope Francis urging him to mediate in the Catalan crisis and bring “hope to the Catalan political prisoners on hunger strike.”

On day 14 of his hunger strike, former minister Turull was transferred to the Lledoners penitentiary infirmary, although his doctor deemed his condition “stable.”