A JAILED Catalan ex-minister has described how he has become accustomed to prison routine as he awaits trial, but said he cannot escape the “perception of profound humiliation” inside.

However, in his book Escrits de Presó (Writings from Prison), Joaquim Forn, who was interior minister before the October 2017 independence referendum, described what happened in Catalonia as a “citizen’s miracle”.

Laura Masvidal, his wife, has shown The National her favourite extracts from the book, which reads like a diary of prison life.

Speaking after the publication’s local launch in the town of Viladrau, she said: “The book is an incredible testimony, honest, hard but with political reflections, humanity and hopes.

“It is incredibly well written, good literature, humour and little funny stories from inside jail. We are now working on the English edition.”

One of her favourite passages is where Forn describes the daily 8am headcount: “They open the cell door a little and the megaphone booms ‘headcount module 3’. The door closes as the guard confirms all prisoners on his watch are closed in. At 8:30 we go down for breakfast. There is a queue at the canteen ... always.”

He wrote that letters “are a present, like a window that opens for you” and said he liked to imagine himself as one of the writers.

“They don’t write to me as Joaquim Forn, but as an MP imprisoned by his country as a representative of a just cause, as a politician who is ‘playing’ for them,” he wrote.

“What happened in Catalunya is a citizen’s miracle.

“There are things difficult to understand if you have not experienced them from within and are not conscious as to the extent of Catalan independence … The likes of this have never been seen before. It is rare what happened in Catalunya.”

Forn said he had to do his best to become accustomed to the routine inside prison.

“I try to adapt and relate to all,” he said. “I have made friends and met fantastic people.

“Looking at the positives of imprisonment at least I make an effort, but can’t escape the perception of profound humiliation. The handcuffing, the transfer, the cell. I live it like a sheep to the slaughter.

“Before there was institutional dignity and I can’t repeat I am an MP ... a representative of the Catalan people when I am treated like a dangerous criminal.”

He said the value of the letters did not lie in the information they contain, because inmates are usually up-to-date with news.

Forn added: “Their raw value is the emotional force they transmit.”