Catalan leader says prison transfer is no olive branch

July 4, 2018
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A police convoy, allegedly carrying pro-independence Catalan politicians, arrives at Lledoners prison in Sant Joan de Vilatorrada in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, June 4, 2018. The Spanish government says nine politicians who were jailed for promoting the Catalonia region's secession are being moved to prisons closer to their homes. (AP Photo/Eric Alonso)

MADRID (AP) — Six of nine prominent Catalan separatist politicians jailed for promoting the region’s drive to secede from Spain have been moved to prisons closer to their homes.

Some observers see the prison transfer as a goodwill gesture by the central Spanish authorities ahead of a key meeting next week between Spain’s new prime minister and Catalonia’s new regional president, amid hopes for a thaw in relations between Madrid and the Catalan capital Barcelona.

But Catalan President Quim Torra rejected that interpretation Wednesday and stuck to his hard line on Catalan independence.

Torra said in a statement outside the Catalan regional parliament in Barcelona that the transfer is stipulated by law and “is not part of any negotiation.”

He says the Catalan conflict with Madrid is political, not legal.

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