CATALONIA’s highest-profile political prisoner, former vice-president Oriol Junqueras, is being allowed to leave prison for three days a week to work in the University of Vic – Central University of Catalonia.

Junqueras – who leads the Republic Left of Catalonia (ERC) – was jailed for 13 years for his role in the Catalan independence referendum in October 2017.

He has a PhD in the History of Economic Thought and a degree in Modern and Contemporary History, and is expected teach on the Manresa campus in the coming weeks.

Under Spanish penal regulations medium-category prisoners are allowed to leave jail to work or volunteer once they have served a proportion of their sentences, and former minister Raül Romeva will also be given temporary freedom.

They join Jordi Cuixart, Jordi Sànchez and Joaquim Forn, are also on work and volunteer permits, along with Dolors Bassa and Carme Forcadell, who are allowed to leave prison to care for elderly relatives.