MADRID — A Spanish government-funded body has apologized after it caused an outcry by asking an art gallery to yank a photo exhibit on political prisoners from a prestigious international fair in Madrid.

IFEMA, which runs the venue hosting Madrid’s International Contemporary Art Fair, says in a statement the move wasn’t intended as censorship and said it acted in good faith. The statement Thursday didn’t suggest “Political Prisoners in Contemporary Spain” by artist Santiago Sierra be put back on display.

IFEMA on Wednesday asked for the removal of 24 photographs of unidentified prisoners, saying controversy over the exhibit was hogging public attention.

Some political leaders and activists in Catalonia have recently been jailed because of their region’s bid to become independent from Spain, and their supporters claim they are political prisoners.