If pro-independence leaders in jail are found guilty and sentenced by the Spanish judiciary, there should be “a country-wide work stoppage.” This is what Txell Bonet, the wife of activist Jordi Cuixart who has been behind bars since last year, suggested  in an interview with the Catalan News Agency. Bonet also called on people to demonstrate and, at the judicial level, go to Spain’s Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights to get their voices heard.

Cuixart is facing the charge of rebellion, which can carry up to 30 years in prison, for playing a key role in demonstrations this time last year in order to block Spanish police from entering Catalan government buildings in the run up to the independence referendum. These charges, Bonet believes, are not correct.

“I think he is in pre-trial detention because there is a plan to criminalize civil mobilization, the demonstrations that took place in Catalonia,” she said. They don’t like these kinds of demonstrations,” she added, highlighting their “peaceful and civic” nature.

Approaching trial

Although the date is still not set, the trial against pro-independence leaders is nearing. Bonet is adamant that it will not be a fair one. “There are a lot of issues and things that have happened that demonstrate that this trial is not fair at all,” she said. “But at least this trial will be an opportunity to tell the world, to spread the truth, and to demonstrate that there is a big violation of fundamental rights. They are not guilty at all” she went on to say.

Despite this, Bonet is expecting the “worst” but trusts that the statements made by those being prosecuted and possible presence of “international observers” during the trial could serve to “accuse Spain of all the violations of human rights it has caused.”

Taking to the streets

If the pro-independence leaders in pre-trial detention are sentenced to more time behind bars, action would be necessary from supporters, Bonet believes. “The Catalan population, as it has proven, can mobilize and take to the streets to not accept the sentence,” she said. “There could be another work stoppage in the country like on October 3 when a sentence is made and is not just,” she added.

On October 3 last year, two days after the independence referendum, a general strike was called and thousands took to the streets to protest against Spain’s reactionary measures against voters, which saw more than 1,000 injured by police.

“Not accepting the sentence means not remaining silent, doing something, doing it in parallel, it all adds up” she said, emphasizing the need to take the issue to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg should it be necessary.