Legendary American singer-songwriter, Joan Baez, visited on Friday the former parliament speaker, Carme Forcadell, in the Mas d’Enric prison, and afterwards expressed her support for Catalan independence. “I give my support to the independence movement in Catalonia and hope that anyone watching this understands that it is the only intelligent approach” said Baez on leaving the prison after her visit.

Baez, who on a number of occasions has showed support for the Catalan political prisoners, said “I’ve been supportive of non-violent movements everywhere all of my life, and the Catalan movement is therefore for me very important and interesting.” Referring to her wish to visit Forcadell, who is facing up to 17 years in prison for rebellion, Baez added that “among the things I wanted to do was visit somebody who is paying the price for what they have done.”

Baez said that Forcadell “seemed to me like a very strong woman, but in between sadness, because her family can visit for one day a week for one hour, or two days a week for half an hour, and that’s something we on the outside do not understand.”

Human rights defender

Baez performed at the Jardins de Terramar festival on Thursday and on Saturday at the Porta Ferrada festival in Sant Feliu de Guíxols, where she sang a song by Lluís Llach for the Catalan political prisoners:

Aside from a distinguished musical career, Baez has been an activist since the 1960s, and Amnesty International created a prize bearing her name in 2011. The Amnesty International Joan Baez Award goes to artists who have helped advance human rights.