Live Blog | Catalonia on Trial: The Spanish State vs. The Catalan 12

The nine Catalan political and social leaders who have been in preventive detention for up to 650 days

 


Catalonia's right to self-determination: Europe's key struggle for democracy

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Note on blog

THIS BLOG HAS ENDED. FOR OUR CONTINUING COVERAGE OF CATALONIA GO HERE.


This blog focuses on the trial in the Spanish Supreme Court of the 12 Catalan social and political leaders, who face up to 25 years jail for alleged offenses of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement of public funds.
 For background on the trial read here.

For daily updates on developments in Catalonia in English, French, Italian, Portuguese and German go to the FOREIGN FRIENDS OF CATALONIA website and join their Twitter or Telegram channels

Note after conclusion of hearing (June 12, 2019)

The trial has concluded for sentencing. This blog will continue to cover news and comment related to the trial and other proceedings still pending against Catalan leaders and officials. It will be updated as needed.

READ INTERNATIONAL TRIAL WATCH'S ASSESSMENT OF THE TRIAL


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Zaragoza (chief prosecutor): 'The prosecution believes what it said on the first day--it was a coup d'etat' Chief judge Marchena: 'And we've been here for four months for that?' Zaragoza: 'Our patriotism is unalterable.'
Zaragoza (chief prosecutor): 'The prosecution believes what it said on the first day--it was a coup d'etat' Chief judge Marchena: 'And we've been here for four months for that?' Zaragoza: 'Our patriotism is immutable.' (Ferreres, Ara)

Week ending September 29


September 29 | Trial awaiting sentence


News and comment on trial

The Spanish state offensive against Catalan sovereignty movement and government

Spanish general election November 10


September 26 | Trial awaiting sentence


The Spanish state offensive against Catalan sovereignty movement and government


Week ending September 22


September 20 | Trial awaiting sentence


News and comment on trial

Failed negotiations over new Spanish government, new general election November 10

The Spanish state offensive against Catalan sovereignty movement and government

News, debate and comment in the Catalan sovereignty and independence movement

Other news and comment


Week ending September 15


September 15 | Trial awaiting sentence


Coverage and comment on the 2019 Catalan National Day (Diada), September 11, and aftermath

News and comment on trial

The Spanish state offensive against Catalan sovereignty movement and government

News, debate and comment in the Catalan sovereignty and independence movement

Other news and comment


Week ending September 8


September 6 | Trial awaiting sentence


News and comment on trial

The Spanish state offensive against Catalan sovereignty movement and government

Negotiations over new Spanish government

The struggle over strategy in the Catalan independence movement

Barcelona updates

Other news and comment


Week ending September 1


August 28 | Trial awaiting sentence


News and comment on trial

The Spanish state offensive against Catalan sovereignty movement and government

Other news and comment


Week ending August 25


August 25 | Trial awaiting sentence


News and comment on trial

The Spanish state offensive against Catalan sovereignty movement and government

Barcelona updates

Other news and comment

Social network exchanges

  • On the 30th anniversary of the Baltic Way human chain linking the Baltic states demanding independence form the former USSR


August 20 | Trial awaiting sentence


News and comment on trial

The Spanish state offensive against Catalan sovereignty movement and government

The struggle over strategy in the Catalan independence movement

The battle for refugee rights in the Mediterranean

Other news and comment


Week ending August 18


August 13 | Trial awaiting sentence


The Spanish state offensive against Catalan sovereignty movement and government

Other news and comment


Week ending August 11


August 9 | Trial awaiting sentence


Negotiations over new Spanish government

Barcelona Council updates

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August 2 demonstration of Barcelona street sellers
August 2 demonstration of Barcelona street sellers

Media conference of the People's Union of Barcelona Street Sellers.jpg

Media conference of the People's Union of Barcelona Street Sellers
Media conference of the People's Union of Barcelona Street Sellers

The sewers of the Spanish state

Other news and comment

 


Week ending August 4


August 4 | Trial awaiting sentence


The sewers of the Spanish state

The Spanish state offensive against Catalan sovereignty movement and government

Barcelona Council updates


August 1| Trial awaiting sentence


The Spanish state offensive against Catalan sovereignty movement and government

The sewers of the Spanish state

Other news and comment


July 31 | Trial awaiting sentence


The sewers of the Spanish state

Other news and comment


July 29 | Trial awaiting sentence


The sewers of the Spanish state


Week ending July 28


July 27 | Trial awaiting sentence


News and comment on trial

Other news and comment


July 25 | Trial awaiting sentence


News and comment on trial

PSOE-Unidas Podemos negotiations over new Spanish government

Other news and comment


July 24 | Trial awaiting sentence


PSOE-Unidas Podemos negotiations over new Spanish government

Other news and comment


July 23 | Trial awaiting sentence


The sewers of the Spanish state

PSOE-Unidas Podemos negotiations over new Spanish government


Week ending July 21


July 21 | Trial awaiting sentence


News and comment on trial

PSOE-Unidas Podemos negotiations over new Spanish government


July 20 | Trial awaiting sentence


The sewers of the Spanish state

CNI spook 1: 'Our man in Ripoll is preparing a whopper.'
CNI spook 2: 'Let him do what he wants. Here we've got more important things to worry about.' (Ferreres, Ara)


Público revelations translated into English by Milford Edge (4):

The CNI wanted to install Es-Satty as an imam in Barcelona controlled from Madrid but the local secret service chief refused


PSOE-Unidas Podemos negotiations over new Spanish government

Other news and comment


July 19 | Trial awaiting sentence


The sewers of the Spanish state

Público revelations translated into English by Milford Edge (3)

The CNI recruited Es Satty in 2014 in exchange for not deporting him and helped him become the imam of Ripoll


News and comment on trial

  • Access International Trial Watch's report on the trial, sent to the UN, here

The Spanish state offensive against Catalan sovereignty movement and government


(Spanish original) "Las #identidades no crecen en los arboles. Las identidades se construyen y destruyen con la escuela, lengua, tv, propaganda... Debemos esforzarnos para que la nuestra no se vea pervertida por otras construcciones identitarias. Pertenecemos a un gran país que ha hecho una gran tarea en el mundo y en #Amlat @casamerica pic.twitter.com/ZK7oOiWwDt"

— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) 18 de juliol de 2019

(English translation) "Identities don't grow on trees. Identities can be constructed and destroyed, through education, language, TV, propaganda ... We have to make an effort so that ours isn't perverted by other identities. We belong to a great country that has carried out a great task in the world and in Latin America."

--Spanish acting foreign minister Josep Borrell, candidate to be the next head of EU diplomacy.


PSOE-Unidas Podemos negotiations over new Spanish government


July 18 | Trial awaiting sentence


The sewers of the Spanish state

Público revelations translated into English by Milford Edge (2):

The CNI listened in on the mobile phone conversations of the Ramblas murderers only five days before the massacre

Reaction


July 17 | Trial awaiting sentence


The sewers of the Spanish state

Público revelations translated into English by Milford Edge (1):

The mastermind behind the massacre on the Ramblas was a CNI informant until the day of the attack

Comment


The Spanish state offensive against Catalan sovereignty movement and government


July 16 | Trial awaiting sentence


The sewers of the Spanish state

The Spanish state offensive against Catalan sovereignty movement and government


Week ending July 14


July 14 | Trial awaiting sentence


News and comment on trial

The Spanish state offensive against Catalan sovereignty movement and government

The Spanish media offensive against Catalan sovereignty movement

Within the Catalan independence and pro-sovereignty movements


July 12 | Trial awaiting sentence


The Spanish state diplomatic offensive against Catalan sovereignty movement and government


July 11 | Trial awaiting sentence


News and comment on trial, political prisoners and exiles and other impending trials of Catalan leaders and officials

The sewers of the Spanish state

The Spanish state diplomatic offensive against Catalan sovereignty movement and government

The Catalan crisis in Spanish politics

Other news and comment


Week ending July 7


July 4 | Trial awaiting sentence


The July 2 Catalan protest outside the European Parliament, Strasbourg

The campaign to stop elected Catalan representatives from taking up their seats

The war against refugee rescue vessels in the Mediterranean

Other news and comment


Week ending June 30


June 30 | Trial awaiting sentence


The campaign to stop elected Catalan representatives from taking up their seats

Other news and comment


June 27 | Trial awaiting sentence


News and comment on trial

The campaign to stop elected Catalan representatives from taking up their seats

Other news and comment


Week ending June 23


June 23 | Trial awaiting sentence


The campaign to stop elected Catalan representatives from taking up their seats

Other news and comment


June 20 | Trial awaiting sentence


News and comment on trial

The campaign to stop elected Catalan representatives from taking up their seats

Other news and comment


Week ending June 16


June 16 | Trial awaiting sentence


News and comment on trial

Who will run Barcelona Council?

The campaign to stop elected Catalan representatives from taking up their seats

Other news and comment


June 15 | Trial awaiting sentence


News and comment on trial

The campaign to stop elected Catalan representatives from taking up their seats


Comment (Javier Pérez Royo, eldiario.es, June 14)

Perversion of the course of justice consummated

Oriol Junqueras has not been convicted by any final judgement that might prevent him from exercising his political rights, which obviously include the right to stand as a candidate in elections.

Otherwise, he would not have been able to stand as a candidate in the elections to the Congress of Deputies [Spanish lower house] on April 28, or in the elections to the European Parliament on May 26. The Central Electoral Commission, which is responsible for declaring candidates eligible to stand in the elections, would have prevented him from doing so. It did try to prevent Carles Puigdemont from standing and his exclusion from the list of candidates was overturned by a judicial decision.

But it did not event attempt to prevent Oriol Junqueras from standing, taking for granted that he was entitled to do so and, consequently, enjoyed the right to be elected as a Member of the European Parliament.

Is it acceptable for a citizen who has not been prevented from standing as a candidate in elections to be prevented from taking up his seat after being elected? The question answers itself. Because, furthermore, from the moment he was elected, the refusal to allow him to take up his seat has constituted a violation not only of the MEP’s right to stand as a candidate but also of the right to vote of all the citizens who elected him. The Supreme Court’s decision is a massive violation of fundamental rights.

The Supreme Court’s decision to refuse to allow Oriol Junqueras to enter the headquarters of the Central Electoral Commission in order to swear allegiance to the Constitution and consequently take up his seat in the European Parliament constitutes a clear violation of the Constitution and of the Electoral Law. The Supreme Court cannot be ignorant of the content and scope of the right recognised in article 23 of the Constitution. It cannot be ignorant of the content and scope of the right to the presumption of innocence, which has not ceased given that Oriol Junqueras has not been convicted by a final judgement. Its decision to refuse to allow him to enter the headquarters of the Central Electoral Board to swear allegiance to the Constitution is a “knowingly” unfair decision.

As soon as he is notified of the Supreme Court’s decision, Oriol Junqueras is entitled to bring an action against the corresponding members of the court for knowingly issuing an unfair decision which has prevented him from exercising a fundamental right.

In my opinion, the Catalan Ombudsman should bring an action on behalf of the citizens of Catalonia, whose right to vote has also been violated by the Supreme Court’s decision.

The said action should be registered forthwith in the European Parliament in order to ensure that the institution is immediately aware of the violation of the fundamental rights of an elected parliamentarian who appears as such in the list published by Spain’s Official State Gazette, and who is the victim of an attempt, by means of anti-constitutional trickery, to prevent him from acquiring the said status. A request should be made for the European Parliament to address the matter as soon as it is constituted.

The European Parliament cannot fail to debate the most flagrant aggression that can be perpetrated against one of its members: that of preventing them from being one.

To date, as far as I know, in no Member State of the European Union has an elected parliamentarian who has not been convicted by a final judgement been prevented from taking up their seat. In my opinion, we are dealing with a breach of European Union law by the Spanish State.

In this respect, it is necessary to examine how to bring the said breach before the European Court of Justice. No appeal of this kind has ever been lodged and the legal route for doing so is unclear.

It is such an extraordinary case that it has never even occurred to anyone that such an appeal might be lodged. But once lodged, it is clear that European Union law must respond and that it must be possible to demand that the said response be effective.

The action against the judges of the Supreme Court for knowingly issuing an unfair decision must be the starting point of a long legal battle. The Supreme Court’s decision cannot be accepted under any circumstances.

Translation: 'Number Six', lightly amended by Green Left Weekly European Bureau


Who will run Barcelona Council?

Other news and comment


June 12 | Day 52: Defence Counsel summing up (day two). Final statements of the accused. Trial set for sentencing

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Jordi Cuixart makes final statment, televised live and watched by hundreds outside the headquarters of Òmnium Cultural in Barcelona
Jordi Cuixart makes final statment, televised live and watched by hundreds outside the headquarters of Òmnium Cultural in Barcelona


For general coverage of the day's proceedings in English, go to:

For more detailed coverage go to:

Marina Roig (defence counsel for Jordi Cuixart)

Olga Arderiu (defence counsel for Carme Forcadell)

Final statements of accused

Other news and comment


June 11 | Day 51: Defence Counsel summing up (day one)


For general coverage of the day's proceedings in English, go to:

For more detailed coverage go to:

Andreu van den Eynde (defence counsel for Raül Romeva and Oriol Junqueras)

Xavier Melero (defence counsel for Joaquim Forn and Meritxell Borràs)

Jordi Pina (defence counsel for Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Turull and Josep Rull)

Other news and comment


June 10 | Court not sitting


International Trial Watch Assessment, Week 17


Other news and comment


Week ending June 9


June 9 | Court not sitting


Other news and comment


June 8 | Court not sitting


Other news and comment


June 7 | Court not sitting


Other news and comment


June 6 | Court not sitting


Other news and comment


June 5 | Court not sitting


Other news and comment


June 4 | Day 50: Summaries of the Prosecutor-General's office, the Solicitor-General's office and the popular prosecution


For general coverage of the day's proceedings in English, go to:

For more detailed coverage go to:

Other news and comment


June 3 | Court not sitting


International Trial Watch Assessment, Week 16


Other news and comment


Week ending June 2


June 2 | Court not sitting


Other news and comment


June 1 | Court not sitting


Other news and comment


May 31 | Court not sitting


Other news and comment


May 30 | Court not sitting


Other news and comment


May 29 | Day 49: Third day of documentation of evidence phase of trial--defence videos


For general coverage of this process in English, go to:

For more detailed coverage go to:

Civil Guards on their way to Catalonia for October 1, 2017 referendum, chanting "Go get 'em" and singing the Spanish national anthem with wording from the Franco era

Other news and comment


May 28 | Day 48: Second day of documentation of evidence phase of trial--prosecution videos


For general coverage of this process in English, go to:

For more detailed coverage go to:

Other news and comment


May 27 | Day 47: First day of documentation of evidence phase of trial


For general coverage of this process in English, go to:

For more detailed coverage go to:


International Trial Watch Assessment, Week 15


Other news and comment


Week ending May 26


May 26 | Court not sitting--European elections and local council and regional elections in the Spanish state


Other news and comment

RESULTS FOR CATALONIA


May 25 | Court not sitting


Other news and comment


May 24 | Court not sitting


Other news and comment


May 23 | Day 46: Testimony of defence witnesses Josefina Valls, Xavier Urios, Pau Villoria and Josep Solà. Testimony of expert witnesses Carlos Javier Irisarri, José Manuel Cámara, Jordi Duatis, Joan Güell, Civil Guards TIP S51761E, TIP R92560Q,  Xavier Crusi, Ferran Caballero,  Gemma Rigau, José Navarro and Rubèn Pujol (graphics here)


For general coverage of this testimony in English, go to:

For more detailed coverage of various witness statements, go to:

Other news and comment


May 22 | Day 45: Testimony of defence witnesses Jordi Martínez, Ricard Gené, Rosa Maria Sans, Enric Vinaixa and Àngel Cortadelles.  Testimony of expert witnesses Maria del Carmen Tejera, Sara Izquierdo, Teresa Cecilia Hernández, Mercedes Vega, John Paul Lederach and Jesús Castañar Pérez (graphics here)


For general coverage of this testimony in English, go to:

For more detailed coverage of various witness statements, go to:

Other news and comment


May 21 | Court not sitting—Spanish Congress and Senate inaugural session


Other news and comment

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Catalan political prisoner MPs Josep Rull, Jordi Turull and Jordi Sànchez in the Spanish Congress, seated alongside Alberto Garzón of Unidas Podemos (left).
Catalan political prisoner MPs Josep Rull, Jordi Turull and Jordi Sànchez in the Spanish Congress, seated alongside Alberto Garzón of Unidas Podemos (left).


May 20 | Court not sitting


International Trial Watch Assessment, Week 14

Other news and comment


Week ending May 19


May 19 | Court not sitting


Other news and comment


May 18 | Court not sitting


Other news and comment


May 17 | Court not sitting


Other news and comment


May 16 | Court not sitting


Other news and comment


May 15 | Court not sitting


Other news and comment


May 14 | Day 44: Testimony of defence witnesses Ramon Font, Marina Garcés, Lluís Matamala, Jaume Pich, Sílvia Carmona, Mercè Torras, Jordi Pesarrodona, Joan Badia, Magdalena Clarena, Jordi Meca, Santiago Guerra, Montserrat Vintró, María Luisa Carrillo, Esther Raya, Pere Sol, Mercè Arderiu, Lluís Corominas and Anna Simó (graphics here)


For general coverage of this testimony in English, go to:

For more detailed coverage of various witness statements, go to:

Other news and comment


International Trial Watch Assessment, Week 13

 


May 13 | Day 43: Testimony of defence witnesses listed below


For general coverage of this testimony in English, go to:

For more detailed coverage of various witness statements, go to:


Week ending May 12


May 12 | Court not sitting


Other news and comment


May 11 | Court not sitting


Other news and comment


May 10 | Court not sitting


Other news and comment


May 9 | Day 42: Testimony of defence witnesses listed below


For general coverage of this testimony in English, go to:

For more detailed coverage of various witness statements, go to:

Other news and comment


May 8 | Day 41: Testimony of defence witnesses listed below

 


For general coverage of this testimony in English, go to:

For more detailed coverage of various witness statements, go to:

Other news and comment


May 7 | Day 40: Testimony of defence witnesses listed below


For general coverage of this testimony in English, go to:

For more detailed coverage of various witness statements, go to:

Other news and comment


May 6 | Day 39: Testimony of defence witnesses Josep Guillot, Sergi Pla, Irineu Alvarado, Mossos d'Esquadra numbers 9823, 5422 and 5834, Xavier Trias, Pere Miralles, Antoni Morral, Jordi Vilarasau and Javier Pacheco


For general coverage of this testimony in English, go to:

For more detailed coverage of various witness statements, go to:

Other news and comment


International Trial Watch Assessment, Week 12


Week ending May 5


May 5 | Court not sitting


Other news and comment


El Nacional interview

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Carles Puigdemont: a Madrid court has overruled the Spanish Electional Board's ban on his standing in the May 26 European election
Carles Puigdemont: a Madrid court has overruled the Spanish Electional Board's ban on his standing in the May 26 European election

Carles Puigdemont on the April 28 Spanish election

While exiled Catalan president Carles Puigdemont responds to El Nacional's questions, in the front room a meeting of the exile body Council of the Republic is starting. On the street, a group of Catalans with pro-independence estelada flags and yellow scarves are being photographed in front of the building, in defiance of the rain. The image has become commonplace and breaks the monotony of this residential neighbourhood in Waterloo, Belgium. And in addition, this time, the visitors are about to get a surprise when the door opens and the president steps out to greet them.

From this office, flooded with daylight through its large windows, Puigdemont keeps a close eye on the movements of Pedro Sánchez in Madrid. He considers we'll have to wait until after the May 26th municipal and European elections to find out the Socialists' real intentions, but he predicts a coalition government with left-wing Podemos as a response to the results of last week's Spanish general election. The Catalan president advises Sánchez that he needs to assume a historical responsibility for understanding Catalonia's stubborn and persistent reality and responding to it. He assures that JxCat has the door open to dialogue.

This contention that you have with the Spanish state occurs just as Europe has seen Pedro Sánchez's PSOE victorious in the Spanish election, and successful in curbing the extreme right...
It is a bit odd if Pedro Sanchez is given the credit for curbing the far right. If we look at the map of Spain, basically the far right has been stopped in the Basque Country and Catalonia.

Is this Europe's reading of the results too?
I don't know. But there is one current of interpretation of the results that warns that it will be difficult to govern. The two major Spanish groups, PSOE and PP, the largest party and the main opposition party, had 222 deputies in the previous legislature. Now they have a total of 188. That is, the political architecture of the establishment has been diminished. There is much more fragmentation and power is distributed more widely. Pedro Sánchez will have to make decisions, if he wants to govern alone or in coalition, and with whom. All these decisions have consequences. Governing alone is risky from the point of view of stability.

Would it be stable to govern with the support of the pro-independence groups?
Sanchez should govern in a coalition with Podemos.

Do you support a coalition with Podemos, then?
Seen from the outside, the Spanish political map seems to call for a coalition government. There's never been one. This coalition must necessarily be with Podemos.

There's also Ciudadanos...
Yes, however, a coalition with Cs would be a colossal step backwards, it would be going back beyond several starting blocks.

But with Podemos, the total of seats don't add up to a majority...
I'm not telling Mr. Pedro Sánchez what to do. I'm only saying that it is not the same governing alone, as it is trying to form a coalition with Podemos, or settling the government with Ciudadanos, which is what the establishment is calling for... It's not the same.

The Ciudadanos option is also the one that PSOE party activists called to be rejected on election night...
On election nights, people call for all sorts of things ...

Is blockage of the Spanish government an objective of the pro-independence parties?
Blockage has never been an option. We will block the culture of article 155, and what it represents: repression, persecution of the Catalan language, the threats against language immersion in schools, against the public media model in Catalonia, against the Mossos d'Esquadra police... And what are we going to unblock? The thing that allows this [155 culture] to be blocked. At long last, let's unblock democracy so that we can establish the dialogue that Catalan society demands in order to vote in a self-determination referendum.

How do you unblock democracy?
You don't unblock democracy with the Criminal Code, by jailing political leaders - some of whom win elections and are elected as deputies and senators - by trying them on rebellion charges for having done what voters asked them to do... Who is it that has been blocking democracy for a long time? The Spanish state.

How can it be unblocked?
By doing politics.

Could doing politics mean a pardon for the prisoners?
The menu for doing politics is much more complex. The prisoners have always said they don't want to be bargaining chips.

What does Puigdemont think?
The same thing that I told Rajoy and Pedro Sánchez. To do the favour of listening and respecting. What is it they have not yet understood of the message that Catalans have sent?

With prisoners and exile it is very difficult to solve anything ...
The prisoners and exiles don't want to be bargaining chips for anything.

Is it possible for ERC and JxCat to negotiate self-determination with the Spanish government, while some continue in jail and others in exile? Is it possible?
When there was no one in exile or prison, there was no negotiation then, either. They still refused everything completely. It isn't this that has caused dialogue to be blocked. It isn't this which makes the difference. What makes the difference is if the Spanish government finally decides to act as an exemplary, full, mature and European democracy. Scotland's First Minister announced a referendum on independence four days ago. I haven't heard anyone from the United Kingdom accusing her of staging a coup.

But all that you're demanding, how should it be done specifically? What do you expect Pedro Sanchez to do?
The one who has to make a move is Pedro Sánchez. It isn't us who are not candidates to be prime minister. It is for Pedro Sánchez to read the results and assume a responsibility that he has, historically, of being prime minister in a Spanish Parliament under these present conditions. It is up to him to read the reality. It is a stubborn reality in the case of Catalonia, persistent. Since I don't know what he'll say, we must be prudent.

Is there any interlocutor mediating between Puigdemont and Sánchez?
No.

Could there be?
That doesn't depend on me.

It depends only on him?
Exactly.

On Puigdemont's part would there be any problem ...
There has never been any. I opened the door to Inés Arrimadas here! I have no problem.

So, is there nothing decided on the issue of the investiture of the Spanish government? Is it all open?
Imagine that Pedro Sánchez proposed a self-determination referendum, how could we say no to his investiture? On the other hand, if he says he wants us to invest him as PM because he wants to govern alone but wants to pass budgets with Ciudadanos. It's not the same, is it?

But there's one thing that we do know. He's already said that there won't be a referendum.
You know what I'd like to know about Mr. Pedro Sánchez? What he'll say the day after the European and municipal elections, because we're still in a campaign period.

If Pedro Sánchez says there won't be a referendum, president Puigdemont, what would you prefer JxCat to do? Should they vote no, along with the PP and Cs? Should they abstain?
What I will say if the deputies ask me for my opinion, I will say after the European elections, because all that we could say today and until the elections is part of the election campaign. Pedro Sánchez says one thing now and he may end up doing another, as he has done in the past.

Could a return to talks, and to the figure of a rapporteur, which was raised after the 2018 meeting in Pedralbes, be a starting point?
The person who left the table was Pedro Sánchez. But since we aren't yet at that point, we don't know which Pedro Sanchez will go up to the lecturn in Congress to ask for investiture votes. Whether he'll have the word 'no' tattooed on his forehead. Whether or not he's got free from the [Socialist regional] barons. If he has caved in to the pressures of the Ibex 35 [business lobby]... Doing politics means that, not putting the cart in front of the horse... it means waiting. What are we talking about? To vote for Pedro Sánchez as prime minister come what may, whatever happens? I didn't think it was a plebiscite on Mr. Pedro Sánchez. We have expressed ourselves in an election campaign and if Pedro Sánchez knows how to read what is happening in Catalonia, he'll make a speech. We'll be open to what he says.

Do you expect him to call JxCat to the round of talks, on forming the government, that he's to start on Monday?
He's obliged to do so.

And who has to to go?
Jordi Sànchez has to go. We have won a political position. We have our votes there. Our deputies will do politics. And the president of the political group will be Jordi Sànchez. Mr. Sànchez - Pedro - will have to go and see Mr. Sánchez - Jordi. And he'll have to negotiate even if he doesn't like it. Saying that I won't speak with these people because I don't like what they support is very undemocratic. Recognition of the other means this: respecting the position of someone who has beaten you through a contention and who you don't like at all, but who is there as a legitimate representative of the people.

You've said that you're following the referendum trial in the Supreme Court. What do you think?
Seen from here, the sensation is of a farce. A shameful farce. Europeans with whom we speak about it are outraged. When the verdict comes out, that will be the moment when things are made clear.

What did you feel when Major Trapero of the Mossos d'Esquadra testified that he had a plan to arrest you?
Trapero has been a loyal servant of the government of Catalonia. He has been exemplary, a great police officer. I have a great personal and professional respect for him. And I always told him that he had to do his job and I had to do mine. Beyond that, naturally he never informed me that he had a plan to arrest me. That would have been the last thing! What kind of police officer would he have been if he had told me! That speaks to his professionalism. I didn't know. I should also say that I wasn't surprised either. If they had received a judicial instruction, the Mossos knew what they had to do. I never asked them to do what they couldn't do, so it hurts me that someone like Trapero is being prosecuted. It is a complete scandal, a disgrace.

The then Spanish PM and his deputy, Rajoy and Saénz de Santamaria, denied that there had been contacts with the Catalan government. Did they lie to the court?
In democratic countries, perjury is a crime. As the Spanish state is moving away from democratic standards, I don't know what will happen. My vision is another.

What is your vision?
It is clear that there were intermediaries [between Spanish and Catalan governments], that there were proposals. To avoid the declaration of independence on October 10th 2017 there was an exchange of messages...

Between whom?
Between the Spanish executive and the Catalan government. Until the 10th, they were telling me that the Spanish Government was prepared to open a dialogue if on the 10th we didn't vote for a declaration of independence and do something that was irreversible.

Do you have these messages?
I have all the documentation, the notes ... and there are plenty of witnesses to all this. In the PP and the Socialist party. This will have to be told at the right moment, it can't be before the verdict, and with a historical perspective, not to stir up arguments or sell books for Sant Jordi.

In fact, Basque leader Iñigo Urkullu also declared in the Supreme Court trial and gave details of those contacts...
And has anyone opened due diligence for perjury against Rajoy and Santamaría? Does anyone trust the State to ensure that this is a fair trial?

Did you the suspend the declaration of independence because of those talks?
If I thought the desire for dialogue was genuine and, therefore, accepted something as painful for me as suspending the declaration of independence, it was because there were elements that made me think that there could be an effective, fruitful and powerful dialogue. And among those elements on the table was the political value of the 1st October referendum. What could the Catalan Parliament do with the referendum? That was talked about. Having the possibility of establishing talks on the substantive issue, it seemed to me that I had to make a gesture. I made the gesture, I did what I had to; they didn't.

Why did it all get derailed?
They were probably already deceiving me. That's why the requirement for an independent rapporteur is essential. It's the minimum, because we can't trust each other. That's why we can't understand what happened on October 27th 2017 if we don't take into account what happened before the 10th. Either there had to be clear guarantees that Article 155 would not be applied or there would be no possibility of me callling Catalan elections. And I always spoke in these terms to everyone.

When on October 27th you announced that you were calling elections, three leaders of the PP appeared saying that article 155 would be applied, with elections or without ...
To them it was all the same. With a declaration of independence or without it, article 155 would have been applied equally. The decision had been made before and I think it was confirmed on October 3rd.

Was the declaration of October 27th a declaration of independence?
Yes. It was a declaration by Parliament that only the Parliament of Catalonia has the authority to revoke.

It was not implemented, the Spanish flag was not lowered, the decrees weren't signed...
It's a public and well-known fact that there was a declaration of independence. It was a parliamentary motion and what is agreed to by Parliament can only be revoked by Parliament. And since the elections on 21st December 2017, what Parliament has done has really been to confirm the mandate of 1st October.

An explosive issue - unfolding simultaneously with the recording and publishing of this interview: Spain's Central Electoral Commission decided last Monday to exclude Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí from the candidatures for the European Parliament arguing that they did not meet the eligibility requirements. On Thursday, while Puigdemont was responding to El Nacional's interview questions in Waterloo, the JxCat party appealed the decision; on Friday, the public prosecutor's office came out in opposition to the Electoral Commission; and on Sunday, the Spanish Supreme Court is meeting urgently to rule on the question. Following yesterday's first part, here's the second half of our interview with the exiled Catalan president: 

The decision of the Electoral Commission to bar the way to your candidacy for the European elections has opened a new conflict with the Spanish state. In a matter of hours, the response to the appeals will be given...
It's very clumsy. The State has committed prevarication, it has flagrantly violated the law, even embarrassing some of those taking part in the strategy directed against us. The dissenting vote on the Commission, which includes its president and vice president, is not an anecdote. It is very significant. The argument itself is, too. The lengths they have gone to, to force, violate, or breach their own legislation. Those who say that the law is above even democracy, that without law there is no democracy. Well, they’ve destroyed their law.

Why?
Because they knew, as we already said, that if this game were played on neutral ground, that being Europe, where they had no advantage, where unionist political parties don’t nominate judges, ... the result would not be fruit of political pressure. And therefore they’ve used the Spanish section of this European itinerary, where they can exert influence politically. Whatever the result of the European elections, in Spain they are already contaminated.

Do you still trust in the possibilities of revoking the decision of the Commission?
Yes, the possibilities are there. We are defending them, fighting them. To be able to fight them, we had to present the candidature. If we hadn’t done so, we couldn’t be fighting it now. If we hadn’t published the list in the state gazette, with the [substitute] names we put in, we couldn’t be fighting that. We hope that this disgrace does not continue and we trust that the Supreme Court will revoke a clearly unfair decision.

But didn’t you expect them to try and eliminate your candidacy...?
Yes. We always think that they force the legal regime. They go to the limits and beyond. We see it every day of the trial. We've seen it for a year and a half. I was sacked illegally and illegitimately. The Catalan Parliament was dissolved illegally and illegitimately. So of course we expect this. The thing is, it has been shown that we are clear on the map. We said: if people vote for me, I will be able to be an MEP, and that is true.

And why hadn’t you already created a list to anticipate this possibility?
For a start, it’s outrageous that we are the only ones who have to compete in the elections with our hands tied behind our backs. It's an indecency, a disgrace. We’re the only ones who can’t compete on equal terms with the rest. We’ve been criminalized, we’ve been forced to make changes in the list that no other party has had to do. We are harmed by this operation, which is what the Spanish state wants. Why should we have to plan for the fact that the law will not be applied to us?These European elections will be a plebiscite on democracy. And it will not be the same to vote JxCat as to vote for anything else

In fact, Puigdemont already stood for the Catalan elections on 21st December 2017, without obstacles, and Clara Ponsatí herself appears on a municipal list for the 26th May, but she has been removed from the European elections...
Well, our duty is to defend democracy. Our duty is to denounce this and fight it and win at the polls. These elections will be a plebiscite on democracy. And it will not be the same to vote JxCat as to vote for anything else. Because in the vote for JxCat there is clearly a message of struggle and defence of democracy. And that has now become very clear. So, votes that are cast with the idea of defending democracy and defending Catalonia as the spearhead of the democratic defence of Europe now have a clear reference.

Is this a message aimed at ERC people?
No, it’s a message directed at the people of Catalonia. Even to Spanish voters, because we are present throughout Spain. And it's obvious. We didn’t decide that. Who is it that irritates Spain? The only ones they’ve tried to prevent from standing for election are us. They haven’t done it to anybody else. And they’ve done it in a very botched way.

And what hope do you have that Europe, which hasn’t listened much to Catalonia throughout history, will do so now, precisely when the extreme right is growing in Europe?
I don’t go along with the idea that somebody else will have to solve this someday, be it Madrid or Europe. We have to solve it. If we solve it, we maintain our position, we don’t retreat, if we continue defending the victory we had on 1st October 2017, it is much more possible that the international community will have its own discourse on this crisis.

If, as you say, nothing deters Spain, not even the rules and democracy, and they also have police and there were even PP leaders who said they had the army ready... Then how should this be done?
On 1st October we did it. We won and we didn’t need an army to win.

Yes, but now there are quite a few politicians and civic leaders in prison, quite a few in exile, quite a few have been fined...
Yes and repression that is continuing.

There is the other reading, made by, among others, Felipe González, that now, instead of being independent, [Catalonia] has less autonomy...
This has always been the threat that the Spanish state has tried to use to demobilize, to deter, to mitigate ... it worked for several decades. But it reached a point, which is the Constitutional Court ruling against Catalonia’s Autonomy Statute in 2010, when this strategy no longer worked for them because they blew autonomy apart. We weren’t asking for independence. They destroyed the constitutional pact itself. So what are they going to say? That we should be content with a downsized Statute? We ourselves had already cut it. Will they threaten to take over our powers? That the Catalan president can’t take a security bodyguard on a trip abroad? Ban the colour yellow? Penalize TV3 because it screened a programme they didn’t like? All this has already been done. The only alternative we have for national survival and social progress is to exercise the right to self-determination, which is what we did on 1st October.

And now in the European elections, what strategy will Puigdemont and JxCat follow?
If we ourselves can stand, the ministers Comín and Ponsatí and I, it’s not the same as if we can’t. But in any case, whether we ourselves stand or not, we will campaign. We have asked people to substitute us and they are doing so with conditions, that it is provisional and at a great personal sacrifice for them, and I would like to thank them. But we are aware that that is purely provisional. Therefore, we must continue to act as candidates. It makes more sense than ever that we ask for people’s votes to reject an attack on basic rights, which not only prevent us from being candidates, but prevents Catalans from being able to vote. This is what is serious. Violating active suffrage and passive suffrage. It is quite directly a torpedo against the fundamental rights of the EU. We won’t let it go by.

As part of the protest strategy, you’ve presented an initiative to suspend Spain’s voting rights on the European Commission...
The European playing field has different rules. For months we’ve been preparing this initiative. It's not easy. Constructing it from a legal and technical point of view is not easy. It is in the line of the work we said we would do from exile. We can do it. We can take it all the way. And we are doing it with the resources that we mobilize ourselves.

Does this initiative have to be accepted by the European Commission beforehand?
Indeed it does.

Do you see it as viable?
Absolutely viable, because there is a precedent.

But later it needs the support of all the Member States. There is a veto right...
Yes, but anyone who vetoes it, is shown up. It also serves that purpose. Is it or isn’t it in accordance with the fundamental rights of the EU? When there are a million European citizens who say they are worried and ask for a Member State not complying with the rules of the game to be confronted, this has an objective, which is to improve the rules of the game.

Translation: El Nacional


May 4 | Court not sitting


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May 3 | Court not sitting


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Comment: Gonzalo Boye (El Nacional)

The right to have rights

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Gonzalo Boye, Carles Puigdemont's defence attorney
Gonzalo Boye, Carles Puigdemont's defence attorney

In the face of extraordinary situations we have to react first calmly, then with sights set high. The decision from a part of Spain's Central Electoral Commission (JEC) sets a novel precedent in the electoral history of the Spanish state and that of Europe too: the heads of the list for president Puigdemont's candidacy have been excluded, not for legal reasons, but for political ones, and that cannot be tolerated.

When this kind of absolutely scandalous arbitrary act happens, everyone is free to act as they feel best but, as I've always said, when it comes to human and civil rights, to remain equidistant is to be complicit and, in as far as it concerns me, I'll never become complicit to such abuses.

The JEC's decision is an injustice which, firstly, affects president Puigdemont and ministers Ponsatí and Comín in their right to passive suffrage, but which also, and with equal importance, affects the right of all Catalans and Spaniards to freely vote for whoever they want. It's called democratic pluralism and it affects everyone's rights because we're talking about a European election in which the whole of Spain is a single constituency.

There exists no legal impediment whatsoever for the three to stand in the election, like there existed none for Lluís Puig to stand in the recent general election, nor for Clara Ponsatí to stand in the upcoming local elections, nor for all of them to stand in the 2017 Catalan general election. There being no legal impediment, it's clear it's an arbitrary, aberrant and politically motivated decision which, moreover, was communicated to my clients at the last moment with the intention of even preventing the list they headed from standing.

The objective was to silence a significant portion of the Catalan electorate. You can agree or disagree with them, but what no democrat can tolerate is that this, or any other, sector of society, be it larger or smaller, should be prevented from having an electoral list which represents it and which it wants to vote for. It's no longer about political tastes or ideology, it's about democracy.

Since I took on the defence of the exiles, nothing has been easy, but everything we've done has been with the most absolute conviction of being on the right side of history. And I continue to think so. Events and the arbitrary and illegal way the JEC has acted, which it's not alone in, force us to take their defence to its fullest conclusions, not that it could be any other way, and, above all, accept the necessary personal and professional costs.

Human rights, and civil and political rights too, don't belong solely to the left, but to society as a whole, and the duty to defend them belongs to everyone. There won't exist an egalitarian, just and democratic society if all of us who make it up can't feel like part of it and have these rights recognised and guaranteed. As such, never can a membership card or ideological certificate be demanded to defend and protect the fundamental rights of those who have them under threat.

Many will have been surprised by my decision, but I believe that if they analyse what we've been doing and defending over this last year and a half, they'll find out that with my clients, who I'm also provisionally representing on the electoral list, I'm also united by a commitment to the defence of human rights, of civil and political rights and of the right of everyone to decide which in international law and the words of the European Court of Human Rights is called the "right to self-determination". Similarly, we're united by the belief that the best political system is democracy in the framework of a republic.

When coups d'état happen, or when the state runs its own coups, we always have to decide which side to stand on, and those of us who love freedom, democracy and fundamental rights cannot have any doubts as to which side that is. Nor can we, or we shouldn't, remain silent, because at times like this to be silent is to be complicit.

Make no mistake, this isn't about candidates or parties, it's simply about democracy or no democracy and, given the JEC's challenge, everyone will have to examine their conscience and decide where they want to stand. The JEC's decision turns the upcoming European election towards a framework of rectification which leaves no room for tactics or partisanship.

The list headed by president Puigdemont and ministers Ponsatí and Comín, whose defence I am entrusted with and who I'm provisionally substituting, is the victim of the JEC's reprisals in this election and, regardless of our ideological similarities or differences, knowing who the victims are, we should all know where to stand and who to support.

At its heart, at this point in the conflict and paraphrasing Hannah Arendt, what has to be determined here is whether we're in favour of or against the right to have rights, and if such a categorisation is also applicable to the president Puigdemont and his ministers or not. If so, any other debate is not only misguided but, moreover, leads us to be complicit with those who, in defence of the "indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation", are prepared to smash up even the things they claim to be defending.

Human rights, civil and political rights and the right to have rights have no flag, nor any party or ideology. They simply are. You decide, I've already done so.

Translation: El Nacional


Comment ( Montse Riart, Ara)

The Catalan referendum on trial: the three questions which remain following the evidence given by 137 police officers

The testimony of 137 police officers fails to clear up doubts surrounding the police charges for which 73 officers are being probed

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Spanish National Police at work on October 1, 2017
Spanish National Police at work on October 1, 2017

The prosecutors in the trial of the Catalan independence leaders summoned to give evidence 137 Spanish Police and Guardia Civil officers who took part in operations on 1 October 2017 at various polling stations in Catalonia. Their cross-examination at the Supreme Court has painted an almost identical picture as to the alleged attitude of the public that day. There were numerous references to "looks of hatred" and "human walls". Meanwhile, the officers were unable to answer three key questions about the police operation: when they were told how and where to operate, if they were to coordinate with the Catalan police (the Mossos d'Esquadra), and who ordered them to stop charging against the public. These are the same questions which the judicial investigations into the police charges of 1 October 2017 in Catalonia hope to answer. In total, 73 police officers are under investigation. Three more officers have already stood trial for their actions and have been acquitted.

The police operation

When were they told how and where to operate?

Most riot police officers who gave evidence said that they only learnt which polling stations they were to operate at on the same day of the vote, October 1. Nevertheless, intelligence branch officers, who acted as judicial police charged with seizing election material, received their orders the day before. None of them were able to specify who selected the polling stations or the specific instructions they were issued regarding how they were to act. Only some of the witnesses referred to "the principle of proportionality which prevails in any police operation". Lawyer David Casellas, who represents voters that were injured in Bages (the case involves four Guardia Civil officers, three of whom have been charged with unlawful detention), has stated that the claim made by certain police officers that they operated at polling stations which are close to each other does not hold water, since some of the towns targeted by the Guardia Civil, such as Fonollosa, are far from the rest. "Why did they choose Roquetes, Móra, Sant Carles de la Ràpita and nowhere else in the Terres de l'Ebre area?", asks Josep Canício, a lawyer representing voters injured at the La Ràpita polling station, a case in which five Guardia Civil are being probed.

The account of many of the actions carried out by the police during testimony before the Supreme Court is not consistent with the reconstruction of the events made by the judicial investigations underway in Catalonia. Casellas claims that witnesses who acted in the region have given "statements which are not truthful". For example, he recalls the words of the chief of operations in Castellgalí, who said that the police only entered the polling station through one of the access points, in spite of the fact that "there are videos which show that he himself gave the order to enter via both doors".

Coordination

Was there a single joint operation with the Mossos d'Esquadra?

All the high-ranking Mossos d’Esquadra officers who gave evidence before the Supreme Court stated that in the co-ordination meetings prior to 1 October there was talk of a single operation, in which pairs of Mossos would take the lead and the Spanish riot police would act on request. When did this joint operation cease to exist? Early that morning, according to Diego Pérez de los Cobos, the Spanish colonel who headed the police operation. Meanwhile, the Catalan police commissioner Ferran López stated that it ended mid-morning, when he was informed by De los Cobos himself that all meetings had been cancelled.

The court continues to ponder whether it will be necessary for De los Cobos and López to face each other in court, while the officers who have given evidence these past weeks have failed to provide any further details. When asked, most declared that they were not told they were to act on the orders of the Mossos d’Esquadra. According to Canício "in La Ràpita they did not ask for assistance".

The orders

Who gave the order to stop the police charges on 1 October?

The police officers told the court that they withdrew either because they had already visited all the polling stations they had been assigned to, they were tired or the resistance put up by the voters was so great that they gave up. But no one was able to say which commanding officer gave the order —aside from vague references to a “superior”— or why the police charges stopped at noon. Mercedes Armas, the High Court of Justice of Catalonia judge who ordered the three police forces to thwart the 1 October referendum, sent a letter to the Supreme Court in which she denied being the person responsible for giving the order to stop the police charges.

In spite of the conflicting versions of events and the key unresolved questions which remain following the evidence given by police and Guardia Civil officers before the Supreme Court, Casellas and Canício point to the similarities between the officers’ choice of words when asked to describe the voters' attitude on 1 October. According lawyer Albert Carreras, charged with an investigation so far involving 23 police officers regarding the police operation in the city of Girona, "It raises a red flag". Indeed, many of the officers giving testimony from the witness stand used phrases such as "looks of hatred" and "walls" of voters, which were repeated many times. Meanwhile, according to Carreras, when asked for information regarding other aspects of the operation they resorted to "generalities and contributed very few details". "Luckily, the hundreds of videos and photographs of the time around the referendum contradict their version of events", according to Canício. Casellas hopes that aspects such as "descriptions of people’s facial expressions" won’t "influence" the judges.

Some of the police officers and their superiors who gave evidence are under investigation in the various cases currently underway regarding the police charges in Catalonia. Others who are not personally being investigated were members of units which are suspected of having acted inappropriately. The question is whether identifying these officers can help those who are investigating the other cases involving the police’s actions. As far as the Supreme Court is concerned, the police’s role has ended. Now it remains to be seen whether the remaining doubts surrounding the police operation on October 1st can be cleared up in another court in Catalonia.

Translation: Ara


May 2 | Court not sitting


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May 1 | Court not sitting


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Comment (Ara, May 1)

'We were beaten up': voters in the 2017 referendum speak of police violence

The Spanish police’s version of events is contradicted by members of the public, who speak of truncheon blows to the head

The trial of the Catalan political leaders entered a new phase this Tuesday with the testimony of members of the public who were at the receiving end of the police crackdown at polling stations on 1 October 2017, during the referendum on Catalan self-determination. Following the homogeneous version of events supplied by Spanish police officers over the last few weeks —blaming voters for causing the outbreaks of violence— a fresh perspective has emerged: that the Spanish police were responsible for the violence and that the attitude of the voters was largely peaceful. On the whole, protesters were taken by surprise by the level of violence employed by the Spanish police during the operation.

According to Santi Valls, the president of Esquerra Republicana (ERC) in Sabadell, "The only kicking and shoving I saw was carried out by the police against voters". He went on to say that he saw the officers pushing people to the ground and pulling them by the hair. Another witness at the same polling station was the Deputy Mayor of Sabadell, Juli Fernàndez, who described how four police officers dragged him away from the front of the school, breaking his glasses, bag and jacket in the process. Another voter, Jordi Torrent, who was at El Pi Gros school de Sant Cebrià de Vallalta, declared that he "didn’t see anyone hitting the police". When the prosecutor, Javier Zaragoza, asked him if he was aware "that five officers were injured", he replied that he "didn’t know".

Another member of the public from Sabadell, Pilar Calderón, was acting as an election observer for ERC on the day of the referendum. In response to a question from the State Prosecutor, Rosa María Seoane, she admitted that the crowd of voters outside the school gates prevented the police from entering the polling station. At the end of the cross examination, Dolors Bassa’s lawyer, Mariano Bergés, put a question to the witness via the president of the court: "In what way did they impede access?" Manuel Marchena asked the question and Calderón replied that everyone was seated on the floor with their hands raised in the air. This is not a minor detail, since it relates to the crime of sedition, which involves a tumultuous uprising to prevent the police from exercising their authority.

When the prosecutor Jaime Moreno pursued the same line of questioning, Fernàndez tried to dodge the question, responding that “people wanted to exercise their right to protest", denying that the protestors physically tried to stop themselves from being moved aside. He underscored the fact that he only saw people acting "passively". At the Nostra Llar school, people were able to vote later on, as the police never seized the election material.

'We were beaten up'

One of the places where the Guardia Civil acted most forcefully was the San Carles de la Ràpita exhibition hall. One of the residents, Joan Pau Salvadó, stated that the officers "came bursting in" without attempting to talk to the protestors beforehand. He stated that he saw a lot of blood and that the tallest people who bent down were hit on the head, as well as being hit on their lower body and legs. “We were beaten up”, Salvadó declared. He insisted that the voters remained peaceful at all times. They acted in a non-violent manner and did not shout insults at the police officers.

In response to questions from the Prosecutor's Office, Salvadó replied that the will of the voters was "to express themselves in a peaceful manner" and not to prevent the police from doing their job, as Fidel Cadena suggested. Salvadó also denied having seen anyone throw a helmet, stones or a coin at the officers or their vehicles. "I saw it later in the newspaper", he declared, adding that he opposed the throwing of stones but that he can appreciate why it happened, as a "response" to police brutality. Next, the Deputy Mayor of Sant Carles de la Ràpita, Albert Salvadó, painted a similar picture of the events at the polling place and mentioned the names of some of the residents who were injured in the police operation.

"Most of them wept with rage and a feeling of helplessness and, I’m sure that thanks to the wall it was easier to beat the people who had their hands in the air", Salvadó stated when Moreno asked what the public hoped to achieve with the "containment wall" mentioned in witness statements. Earlier, Salvadó attempted to not to answer directly when asked if he was aware that the Guardia Civil had a court order to prevent the vote from going ahead. Marchena intervened to advise him that he had the right to refuse to answer due to the fact that is currently being investigated by the court in Amposta for misuse of public funds, official misconduct and disobedience, leading Salvadó to respond by saying that he "was unaware of the fact". When Seoane asked him if he knew why reinforcements were sent to Catalonia, he replied "They were coming to get us". In reply to a question from Xavier Melero, he declared that the charges were brought against him following a report by the Mossos d'Esquadra on the very day of the referendum.

The mayor of Fonollosa, Eloi Hernández, stated that he saw the Guardia Civil arrest and handcuff an individual "for no reason" during an operation which took place at the town hall building, which was being used as a polling station. According to Hernández, "He was lying handcuffed on the floor for 15 minutes and then let go", something he described as "unwarranted". In fact, a judge in Manresa is investigating three police officers for illegal detention. Hernández is also being investigated as part of the same case, but for disobedience. The former ERC MP for Tarragona, Laura Castel also spoke of police violence on 1 October. "A friend of mine had their head cut open with a truncheon blow. The use of violence was extreme and uncalled for", she stated.

Translation: Ara


April 30 | Day 38: Testimony of defence witnesses present on October 1, 2017 referendum and of two commissioners of the Mossos d'Esquadra and David Elvira, former manager of the Catalan Health Institute (ICS). Detail of names below


For general coverage of this testimony in English, go to:

For more detailed coverage of various witness statements, go to:

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April 29 | Day 37: Testimony of defence witnesses Jordi Molinero, Isaac Peraire, Ivo Vajgl, Ana Gomes, Andrej Hunko, Manon Massé and Lluís Llach. For photos of all witnesses go to this page (in Catalan)


For general coverage of this testimony in English, go to:

For more detailed coverage of various witness statements, go to:

Other news and comment

International Trial Watch Assessment, Week 11

 


Week ending April 28--Spanish general election


April 28 | Court not sitting


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April 27 | Court not sitting


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April 26 | Court not sitting


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"It's not patriotism, it's fascism": Femen activist being hustled off the stage at closing meeting of Vox election campaign
"It's not patriotism, it's fascism": Femen activist being hustled off the stage at closing meeting of Vox election campaign


April 25 | Day 36: Testimony of defence witnesses Jacint Jordana, Antoni Millet, Daniel Garcia, Gerardo Pisarello, Maite Aymerich, Fèlix Martí, Enoch Albertí, Joan Vintró, Jordi Armadans, Ruben Wagensberg, David Fernàndez, Jordi Orobitg, Bernat Picornell, Lluís Juncà, Quim Ayats and Teresa Vallverdú. For photos of all witnesses go to this page (in Catalan)


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Former CUP MP and journalist David Fernàndez testifies
Former CUP MP and journalist David Fernàndez testifies. Tweet of TV producer Fúlvia Nicalás: "David Fernàndez talks about the culture of non-violence to this gang, and they look at him as if he were a giant lobster escaped by miracle from a seafood shop."

For general coverage of this testimony in English, go to:

For more detailed coverage of various witness statements, go to:

Spanish general election updates

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April 24 | Day 35: Testimony of Xavier Barragan, Antón Raventós, Rafael Ramírez, Joan Ignasi Elena, Neus Lloveras, Albert Batlle, Jordi Solé and Anna Teixidó


Testimony of Xavier Barrigan

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Xavier Barrigan, former financial director of Unipost, giving evidence
Xavier Barrigan, former financial director of Unipost, giving evidence

Testimony of Antón Raventós

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Antón Raventós, former chairman of Unipost, giving evidence
Antón Raventós, former chairman of Unipost, giving evidence

Testimony of Rafael Ramírez

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Rafael Ramírez, former worker at Unipost, giving evidence
Rafael Ramírez, former worker at Unipost, giving evidence

Testimony of Joan Ignasi Elena

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Joan Ignasi Elena, former spokesperson for the National Pact for the Referendum, giving evidence
Joan Ignasi Elena, former spokesperson for the National Pact for the Referendum, giving evidence

Testimony of Neus Lloveras

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Neus Lloveras, former president of the Association of Municipalities for Independence, giving evidence
Neus Lloveras, former president of the Association of Municipalities for Independence, giving evidence

Testimony of Albert Batlle

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Albert Batlle, former general manager of the Mossos d'Esquadra, testifies
Albert Batlle, former general manager of the Mossos d'Esquadra, testifies

Testimony of Jordi Solé

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Jordi Solé, Member of the European Parliament for the Republican Left of Catalonia, testifies
Jordi Solé, Member of the European Parliament for the Republican Left of Catalonia, testifies

For general coverage of this testimony in English go to:

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Comment


April 23 | Day 34: Testimony of National Police officer, David Badal, Josep Maria Cerveró, Joan Vidal, a member of the mediation team of the Mossos d'Esquadra, Pere Aragonès (held over), Francesc Xavier Pastor and Meritxell Ruíz


International Trial Watch assessment, Week 10

Solidarity


Testimony of David Badal

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David Badal, head of the Catalan government's electronic invoicing department, giiving evidence
David Badal, head of the Catalan government's electronic invoicing department, giiving evidence

Testimony of Josep Maria Cerveró

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ANC and Òmnium Cultural member Josep Maria Cerveró giving evidence
ANC and Òmnium Cultural member Josep Maria Cerveró giving evidence

 

Testimony of Joan Vidal

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Joan Vidal, former Secretary to the Catalan government, gives evidence
Joan Vidal, former Secretary to the Catalan government, gives evidence

Testimony of sergeant from mediation team of Mossos d'Esquadra

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Sergeant from mediation team of the Mossos d'Esquadra gives evidence
Sergeant from mediation team of the Mossos d'Esquadra gives evidence

Catalan Vice-President Pere Aragonès

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Catalan Vice-President Pere Aragonès was granted the right not to testify because he is still facing possible charges in the Higher Court of Justice of Catalonia
Catalan Vice-President Pere Aragonès was granted the right not to testify because he is still facing possible charges in the Higher Court of Justice of Catalonia

Testimony of Jordi Jané

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Former Catalan interior minister Jordi Jané giving evidence
Former Catalan interior minister Jordi Jané giving evidence

Testimony of Francesc Xavier Pastor

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Mossos d'Esquadra officer Francesc Xavier Pastor gives evidence
Mossos d'Esquadra officer Francesc Xavier Pastor gives evidence

Testimony of Meritxell Ruíz

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Former Catalan eductaion minister Meritxell Ruíz gives evidence
Former Catalan eductaion minister Meritxell Ruíz gives evidence

For general coverage of this testimony in English go to:

For more detailed coverage of the testimony of Vidal and Jané go to:

For coverage of Catalan Vice-President Pere Aragonès's request not to testify, see:

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April 22 | Court not sitting


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Week ending April 21


April 21 | Court not sitting


Latest poll for April 28 Spanish general election

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April 20 | Court not sitting


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April 19 | Court not sitting


Latest poll for April 28 Spanish general election


April 18 | Court not sitting


Latest poll for April 28 Spanish general election

 


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April 17 | Day 33: Testimony of National Police officers 94.670, 76.753, 76.766, 99.306, 110.120, 110.336, 71.004, 72862, 102764, 113.391, 77.795, 93.178, 107.387, 94.601, 81.119, 101.381 and 118.664


For coverage of this testimony in English go to:

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April 16 | Day 32: Testimony of National Police officers 102.476, 82279, 119.763, 56.742, 93.493, 83.553, 92600, 100775, 99.874, 97.881, 74.151, 101.667, 87.487, 95.458, 99.594, 93.294, 75.085, 105.265, 109.541, 120.953 and 87.688


For coverage of this testimony in English go to:

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April 15 | Day 31: Testimony of Civil Guard TIP N29100C (second in command to Civil Guard head of legal police in Catalonia, Daniel Baena) and National Police officers 74.881, 88.428, 100.445, 89.141, 103.406, 92.552, 102.912, 106.424, 117.892, 115.789, 120.381, 103.852 and 86.496


For coverage of this testimony in English go to:

International Trial Watch assessment, Week 9

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Week ending April 14


April 14 | Court not sitting


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  • Interview with Sir Hugh Orde, former Chief Constable of Northern Ireland, on the events of September 20 and October 1, 2017, on the Catalan TV3 program FAQS (questions in Catalan, answers in English)


Translations

April 28: For a Vote That’s Republican, Radically Democratic and Breaks With The System

Manifesto of the Republican Front for the April 28 Spanish general election

As republican organisations intent on defending popular interests and deeply committed to the current struggle for the right of self-determination and against repression, Poble Lliure (Free People), Somos Alternativa (We Are Alternative) and Pirates de Catalunya (Pirates of Catalonia) have decided to create a ticket that will also allow us to carry this fight forward at the April 28 general election.

The three organisations consider that at the present time our duty is to struggle publicly and wherever we can against the situation of oppression and abuse that we all suffer. For the April 28 election a common front should be built that does not yield to any blackmail, but firmly and clearly undertakes not to support any organisation that refuses the commitment due to the right to self-determination and to social rights.

The ticket we are creating will take up the fight on the basis of the following pledges:

  1. It will defend the democratic legitimacy of the struggle for independence and for the construction of the Catalan Republic, without being drawn into concessions or delays that aim to drag the Catalan people back into the cage of Spanish regional government and perpetuation of the 1978 regime.

  1. A vote for this ticket will be a vote of confrontation with the Spanish monarchist regime and its pretence of maintaining despotic dominion over the Catalan nation.

  1. A vote for this ticket will be one that will promote steadfast, public denunciation of the authoritarian nature of the Spanish state, which gags democracy everywhere. The core of its political action will be recognition of the right to self-determination, ending repression and defence of social rights and equality.

Consequently:

The ticket will be made up of people representative of the left that is committed to a break with the system and with the defence of popular interests, people of proven courage and moral integrity. They will be needed to guarantee unflagging denunciation of the current situation of occupation and repression and compliance with this political commitment irrespective of consequences.

This ticket comes into being with an explicit commitment not to vote for any Spanish or Catalan force that does not explicitly defend the Catalan people's right to self-determination, the freeing of the political prisoners and return of the exiles, the defense of social rights and the repeal of articles 155 and 135 of the Spanish Constitution1.

As such, it is a useful and reliable alternative that will never be used to support any party opposed to the interests of our people.

Footnote

1Article 155, used to justify the suspension of Catalan self-rule by the People’s Party government of prime minister Mariano Rajoy, empowers a Spanish government to intervene in regional government if it does not comply with the Constituion or «other laws». Article 135, as amended in 2011, states that repayment of public debt and public debt interest forms «an absolute priority» in budget expenditure.


April 13 | Court not sitting


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April 12 | Court not sitting


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Judge won’t probe if head of Catalan referendum investigation was Tácito tweeter

The defense teams had made this request based on contradictions by Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Baena

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Civil Guard lieutenant-colonel Daniel Baena, head of legal police in Catalonia, who now claims he is not anti-Catalanist troll 'Tácito'
Civil Guard lieutenant-colonel Daniel Baena, head of legal police in Catalonia, who now claims he is not anti-Catalanist troll 'Tácito'

Did the Guardia Civil officer who led the October 1st investigation use the Tácito nickname on Twitter to post messages against the Catalan independence process? The question will remain unanswered for the moment. When he testified a few weeks ago before the Supreme Court, Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Baena, chief of the Guardia Civil's judicial police, denied being the owner of, or administering, this Twitter profile (now closed), although in a recorded conversation with Público newspaper he had admitted to it. On the day of his appearance, the same paper revealed that Baena and Tácito shared the same profile picture. Based on this, the defense teams asked the 13th Court judge to investigate whether it was the same person, but the judge has denied the request.

The defenses had asked the judge to urge Twitter to certify the address of the computers from which Tácito had posted certain messages to ascertain whether they had any connection with the Lieutenant Colonel of the Guardia Civil. They argued that if it could be proven that Baena and Tacitus were one and the same, the investigation and police reports authored by the Lieutenant Colonel would have to be invalidated.

In a resolution reported by Efe [a Spanish wire service], the judge explained that investigating whether the head of the Guardia Civil judicial police is the user of the aforementioned account has no "transcendence or relevance", since "the validity of his professional performance, producing statements and reports and coordinating an investigation [that, which should not be forgotten, is led by an investigating court] does not depend on the political views that he may hold."

The judge referred to the Supreme Court resolution that had already ruled out probing this point, using the same argument. The court said that the ideological considerations of those in charge of, and members of, security forces did not affect the validity of their investigations.

"An account was linked to me, because I followed that Twitter account from my personal account, and a reporter published that," Baena told the Supreme. The Lieutenant Colonel not only denied being the owner of the account, but also denied any role in its management. However, Público released a telephone conversation with the Lieutenant Colonel in which he eventually admitted that he managed the profile, together with other people. "I am not [doing it] on my own, you see", he said in self-defense.

Translation: Ara


April 11 | Day 30: Testimony of Spanish National Police officers 82.910, 107.528, 85.186, anonymous, 114.274, 119.432, 92.783, 82.612, 111.486, 87.526, 91.126, 79.313, 87.576 and 81.829.


For coverage of this testimony and other court proceedings in English go to:

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April 10 | Day 29: Testimony of Spanish National Police officers (88.009, 75.137, 120.522, 126.322, 126.744, 127.996, 88.279, 67.093 and 64.915), five municipal police officers from Badalona and Mossos d'Esquadra 16646 and 17854.


For coverage of this testimony in English go to:

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April 9 | Day 28: Testimony of various Civil Guards (TIP B98467N, J03473D, I57753N, V71878W, TIP W79506I, V17236L, K12407I, TIP X33145Q, U83881V) and Spanish National Police (19.196, 105.992, 128.022, 86.089, 70.385, 81.704, 96.031 and 125.866)


For coverage of this testimony in English go to:

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April 8 | Court not sitting


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International Trial Watch assessment 8


Week ending April 7


April 7 | Court not sitting


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April 6 | Court not sitting


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Analysis (Vilaweb)

No, Mr. Sánchez, Brexit is not like Catalan independence

The data on Brexit and Catalan independence show that the two movements have almost nothing in common

Joe Brew (Vilaweb)

For the full analysis, go here

Brew's conclusion

The Spanish Government’s repeated attempts to draw parallels between Brexit and the Catalan independence movement do not stand up to basic scrutiny. The data show that supporters of the two movements share almost nothing in common. In regards to both demographic characteristics (education, age and wealth), as well as attitudes (on immigration, authoritarianism and welfare), Catalans in favor of independence resemble Brits opposed to Brexit, not those in favor of it.

Why, then, does the Spanish government continue to insist on the Brexit-Catalonia comparison? Perhaps it’s because the more obvious, and factually correct, comparison would be between Catalonia and Scotland. Unlike those who voted in favor of Brexit, those who voted in favor of Scottish independence were (i) younger, (ii) better educated, and (iii) less religious than those who voted against independence. Just like in Catalonia.

Perhaps the reason that the Spanish Government constantly compares Catalan independence with Brexit, instead of the more obvious comparison with Scotland, is that the comparison with Scotland provokes the inevitable question: why not settle the Catalonia-Spain issue like Scotland and the UK did? Why not allow, like the UK did for Scotland, a mutually agreed-upon, binding referendum, voted on by all Catalans?

The Spanish Government’s response so far to this obvious question has been muted or relied on a strange form of legalistic circular thinking (we don’t want a referendum because it’s illegal, and we won’t legalise it because we don’t want it). Though the anti-referendum arguments do well in Spanish electoral politics, they aren’t very effective outside of Spain. This, perhaps more than any other reason, is why Spain wants to keep the spotlight on the failures of a chaotic Brexit, rather than on the successes of the orderly Scottish independence referendum.

In his criticism of Brexit and Catalan independence, Pedro Sánchez said that ‘engaging in campaigns or political projects based on lies eventually leads societies down a blind alley’. If Mr. Sánchez truly seeks to engage with the truth, he should reflect on the data on Catalan independence, and put a stop to the frequent and factually misleading comparisons with Brexit. If there are legitimate reasons for denying Catalans the right of self-determination, a right which was granted to Scots, Mr. Sánchez should highlight those legitimate reasons, and explain why Catalonia is different from Scotland. But his current approach of campaigning against Catalan independence based on false information is not only politically irresponsible; it leads societies, as Mr. Sánchez himself has said, “down a blind alley”.


April 5 | Court not sitting


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Main results:


April 4 | Day 27: Testimony of Mossos d'Esquadra deputy commisioner Joan Carles Molinero and Civil Guard agents TIP R12810S, TIP V11483E, TIP Z66018U, TIP K62747Z, TIP T21380R, TIP T21380R, TIP I50070J, TIP B80404Y, TIP J85171K and TIP R67502P.


Testimony of Joan Carles Molinero

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Mossos d'Esquadra inspector Joan Carles Molinero giving evidence
Mossos d'Esquadra inspector Joan Carles Molinero giving evidence

For coverage of this testimony in English go to:

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April 3 | Day 26: Testimony of Mossos d'Esquadra commisioner Ferran López and Civil Guard agents U30527P, TIP Z44192J, TIP L97409L, TIP B17279W, P24860N, TIP L30567B, TIP M39892T, TIP B11602Z, TIP N97976D, TIP N97976D and TIP Q45716Q.


Testimony of Ferran López

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Ferran López, former deputy head of the Mossos d'Esquadra under Josep Lluis Trapero and acting head under article 155, giving evidence
Ferran López, former deputy head of the Mossos d'Esquadra under Josep Lluis Trapero and acting head under article 155, giving evidence

For coverage of this testimony in English go to:

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April 2 | Day 25: Testimony of Spanish National Police commissioner number 018564, Urban Guard of Badalona chief number TIP 1292, Civil Guard agents number J12485S, TIP T93818V, W55376V and TIP L01637A, and Mossos d'Esquadra officer 6243.


For coverage of this testimony in English go to:

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April 1 | Court not sitting

 


International Trial Watch assessment 7

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Interview

Business leader Durán-Puig: 'Independence is at a point of no-return'

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Businessman Durán-Pich: 'Independence is a done deal. It will take more or less time, but there's no turning back' (Credit: Sergi Picazo)
Businessman Durán-Pich: 'Independence is a done deal. It will take more or less time, but there's no turning back' (Credit: Sergi Picazo)

Week ending March 31

He's to head JxCat's candidacy for Congress in the April 28 snap Spanish general election; he's also one of the Catalan pro-independence leaders on trial for charges including rebellion in Spain's Supreme Court. After a short conversation during a court recess, when the defendants can briefly talk with the members of the public in the room, Jordi Sànchez (Barcelona, 1964) agreed to this interview with El Nacional. The following is based on his handwritten responses to a list of questions.

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Jordi Sànchez, former ANC president and lead candidate for Together for Catalonia (JxCat) at the April 28 general elections, giving evidence
Jordi Sànchez, former ANC president and lead candidate for Together for Catalonia (JxCat) at the April 28 general elections, giving evidence

The trial has been going on for five weeks now. How do you see things from the dock?
It's still time for the prosecution to provide a witness who accuses us of agreeing between organisations and the government to perpetrate a rebellion or sedition and for there to appear evidence which demonstrates civil violence. The only thing we've heard has been stories, words, without evidence. No incriminating fact. The public prosecution remains wedded to a narrative but the supporting evidence for violence and rebellion or sedition hasn't appeared.

Is it how you expected? Or is any of the parties not acting how you expected?
Yes, it's how I expected. In some interviews before being moved [from pretrial detention in Catalonia to Madrid for trial] I already said that all the pressure would be on the public prosecution.

How do you assess the role of presiding judge Manuel Marchena?
That of a judge who feels under watch by the European Court of Human Rights and by dozens of international observers. Some say, however, that he's an iron fist in a silk glove.

There's been much discussion about the warning Marchena gave during the questioning of a senior Catalan government official about fake testimony after not doing so in other cases, like former Spanish interior minister Zoido, who gave testimony with many gaps...
Certainly, that could be interpreted as an intimidatory warning which other witnesses didn't receive. Beyond this incident there are facts as or more serious like having started the trial without having copies of all the evidence admitted or the fact of not allowing the comparison or contradiction of the statements of the public prosecution's witnesses through the showing of videos. And we could add a final action like the question asked of police major Trapero once the defence had ended their turn. Here Marchena acted more as a prosecutor (his origins) than as president of a court. We'll have to see what the European Court of Human Rights says of all these elements.

And the prosecution? What do you think of their performance?
They're having a hard time not making fools of themselves. Very often they don't even find their papers, they confuse basic details. They're a victim of their own narrative. But I see them as too proud, incapable of course correction.

Are you surprised by the role being taken on by far-right party Vox (the private prosecution)?
A little. I often think that they don't ask much because not even they believe all that about rebellion and sedition.

Which testimony had the biggest effect on you?
Pushed to choose one, for obvious reasons, I was surprised by the clerk of the court who attended the search of the economy ministry on September 20. The majority of her testimony was to explain her mood and to explain things others had told her which she didn't see directly. The only things she narrated saying that she'd personally seen or heard turned out to be inexact or lacking veracity. What we would colloquially call false. It couldn't be shown they were false because the judge (incomprehensibly) doesn't allow the showing of videos to counter witnesses' stories. The time will come to do so.

Do you believe the absolution you call for is possible seeing how the trial is going?
If the court is just, I have no doubt about it. Absolution should be the only sentence possible as the trial is going now.

Have you tackled what the response should be if in the end you are found guilty?
No. If the trial is just, and the sentence is too, I only see absolution being possible. I am focused on absolution and the daily construction of my defence. There are many weeks to go. And until the sentences, months.

Translation: El Nacional, slightly amended by Green Left Weekly European Bureau


March 21 | Day 20: Testimony of anonymous Civil Guard agents TIP H77877T, TIP G36994P, TIP H12669K, TIP S00885Q, TIP S17971T, G67504A, TIP N31011H, TIP G37772B, TIP U41506Z and TIP W86153J


Testimony of Civil Guard agents

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Civil Guard agents gave their evidence anonymously
Civil Guard agents gave their evidence anonymously

For coverage of this testimony in English go to:


Comment: Vicenç Villatoro, Ara, March 21

The Civil Guard points the finger

After the testimonies we have heard in  Supreme Court, we might ask: who runs the show in Spain?

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Catalan writer and commentator Viçenc Villatoro
Catalan writer and commentator Viçenc Villatoro (credit: La Vanguardia)

In autumn of 2017 the Guardia Civil came to Catalonia to save Spain with their batons. Now they have been summoned to the Supreme Court to finish the job: at present the only thread holding together the charges of rebellion are the reports and statements by Guardia Civil officers.

Their statements contradict those by other witnesses and would have been exposed by video footage of the events, had the court allowed it to be shown in order to contrast their version of events. You get the feeling that the State is using the Guardia Civil to speahead an operation aimed at wiping out the leadership of Catalonia’s independence movement. However, if we are to believe the testimonies of the former members of the PP administration —who, once on the witness stand, knew and recalled nothing— and Pérez de los Cobos himself (1), not only is the Guardia Civil spearheading the operation, but it might also be the driving force behind it.

The fact that an armed force, military in nature, should have such a high profile is bad news for the reputation of Spain’s democracy. The fact that the Guardia Civil is the main actor in a political conflict, that the evidence provided by the prosecution is based almost entirely on their words, is not exactly what you would expect from a dynamic democracy. And after the testimonies we have heard in Spain’s Supreme Court, we might ask: who runs the show in Spain?

Translator’s note:

1. Guardia Civil Coonel Diego Pérez de los Cobos was appointed to coordinate the efforts of the Spanish police, Guardia Civil and Catalan police during the Catalan referendum on independence in 2017.

Translation: Ara, slightly amended by Green Left Weekly European Bureau


March 20 | Day 19: Testimony of anonymous Civil Guard agents TIP R77175H, TIP F98511S, TIP M81486Q, TIP R51133F, TIP E98218B, TIP S51761E, TIP B40743H, TIP C73251J and TIP M77964J


Testimony of Civil Guard agents

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Civil Guard agents gave their evidence anonymously
Civil Guard agents gave their evidence anonymously

For coverage of this testimony in English go to:


March 19 | Day 18: Testimony of Felipe Martínez and anonymous Civil Guard agents H11346M, TIP K47019K, TIP P35979V and TIP P96540Q


Testimony of Felipe Martínez

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Felipe Martínez, Undersecretary of the Spanish Ministry of Finance, giving evidence
Felipe Martínez, Undersecretary of the Spanish Ministry of Finance, giving evidence

For coverage of Martínez's testimony in English, go to: Montoro's second in-command admits that there is no evidence for misuse of public funds for the 1-O referendum


Testimony of Civil Guard agents

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Civil Guard officers giving evidence are appearing anonymously
Civil Guard officers giving evidence are appearing anonymously

For coverage of this testimony in English go to:


March 18 | Court not sitting



Week ending March 17


March 17 | Court not sitting


Translation

Speech from March 16 'Self-Determination is Not a Crime' demonstration in Madrid

Text of the intervention of Jaime Pastor, on behalf of Women and Men of Madrid for the Right to Decide

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Jaime Pastor, spokesperson of Men and Women of Madrid for the Right to Decide
Jaime Pastor (Credit: El Punt Avui)

Companys i companyes, companheiros and companheiras, lagunak, compañeros and compañeras ["men and women comrades", in Catalan, Galician, Basque and Castilian (Spanish)]

Congratulations for this demonstration--we have managed that "self-determination is not a crime" and that "democracy is to decide" are getting heard loud and clear in the very heart of the capital of the State! Thanks for the enormous effort of those of you who have come from Catalonia and other places with your respective flags, demonstrating the range of different identities that exists across the State and which the reactionary right tries to deny and obliterate in the name of a "one and indivisible Spain".

Those of us who live here have also been able to show that another Madrid exists, the Madrid of  "They Shall Not Pass"1, the Madrid that stands with the people of Catalonia and with all the peoples of the State who want to decide their future. A Madrid very different from the one that turned out in Plaza de Colón2 a few weeks ago and which only promises repression of the people of Catalonia and of all our peoples.

From this other Madrid we want to denounce the political show trial that is taking place in the Supreme Court--a trial that is aimed not only against the prisoners and exiles and not even against the more than two million people who took part in the October 1 referendum. It affects all of us who show political dissent against this regime: the regime of a monarchy that is not neutral but the very opposite, since it has become the staunchest defender of the territorial unity of the State against any threat to the regime.

Behind the accusations of "riot" or "human walls"3 that we have heard during the trial lies their goal of stopping us from exercising our rights to freedom of expression, assembly, demonstration and political participation when these are aimed at bringing this regime into question.

From this other Madrid we embrace the legitimacy of civil disobedience by making our own the words of Hannah Arendt: "In no case can civil disobedience be equated with criminal disobedience. There is all the difference in the world between the criminal’s avoiding the public eye and the civil disobedient’s taking the law into his own hands in open defiance."

And that is what you have done: disobey laws and unjust sentences. This is how history has advanced: by always winning new rights and through more, never less, democracy.

That is why we demand freedom for all the prisoners and exiles and why we will never give up forming new "human walls", capable of disobeying and continuing to challenge this regime so as to move towards the building of Republics where we can decide everything: not only the relationships amongst our peoples but also to assert popular sovereignty against the expropriation of civil, political and social rights being carried out by an increasingly reactionary neoliberalism.

Long live free Catalonia [said in Catalan]!! Long live solidarity among our peoples!

Footnotes

1. No pasarán--the slogan of the defenders of Madrid in the Spanish Civil War.

2. Refers to the February 10 Madrid demonstration for Spanish state unity, supported by the PP, Citizens and Vox.

3. Terms from the prosecution case for "rebellion" against the 12 Catalan social and political leaders presently on trial in the Supreme Court.


Ferreres, Ara, March 10 (some phrases from the prosecution and its witnesses)

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"Agressive behaviour towards the police" ... "hooded persons" ... "exquisite performance"

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March 16 | Court not sitting. Madrid demonstration "Self-determination is Not a Crime--Democracy is Deciding"


See English-language coverage of this important affirmation of the right to decide of Catalonia and the other peoples of the Spanish state below

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Tens of thousands of mobile phone lights swayed to the rhythm of L'Estaca [The Stake], the Catalan movement's anthem of struggle at the end of the demonstration
Tens of thousands of mobile phone lights swayed to the rhythm of L'Estaca [The Stake], the Catalan movement's anthem of struggle at the end of the demonstration


March 15 | Court not sitting


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Comment: Gonzalo Boyé, El Nacional

Watch out, Europe is coming

Gozalo Boyé, defence counsel for the "group of madmen who crossed the Pyrenees" (Carles Puigdemont and his ex-ministers), analyses the humiliations awaiting the Spanish legal system

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Gonzalo Boyé, counsel for Carles Puigdemont and the other Catalan ex-ministers in exile
Credit: Sergi Alcazar (El Nacional)

To Mariano Rajoy, in his day, this idea of "judicialising politics" - managing a political problem, such as that of Catalonia, through the courts - seemed a good one. Probably, he opted for the path knowing full well that, on the one hand, the public prosecutors could help him to "fine tune" his propositions, and on the other, that the political establishment could, to paraphrase a famous leaked message, control the key courts "via the back door." However, what never occurred to him was that the situation might get out control because a group of madmen would cross the Pyrenees and engage him in battle on a level playing field and with an impartial referee.

Thinking they had everything under control was not only an error but also reflected a very provincial vision of the true environment in which we move. The rules of the game are no longer, exclusively, those norms that they were usually able to manipulate to suit their interests, but rather, in the solution of legal problems - not political ones - other rules also come into play, and these, despite being there in plain sight for all to see and make use of, turn out to be unfamiliar and odious.

Throughout the last decades, Spain has paid little attention to the judicial environment that surrounds it and as a result, it is seriously difficult for many of those involved to understand how they will end up solving some of the key legal problems arising from this insanity of judicializing politics.

The first clash with European legal reality, in the current Catalonian conflict, was when Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena became nervous and, for the first time, withdrew the European arrest warrant that another judge, Carmen Lamela, now in the Supreme Court herself, had filed against Catalan president Puigdemont and his also-exiled ministers Ponsatí, Comín, Puig and Serret.

Having to face this reality head-on is becoming constant, as was demonstrated when the court in Schleswig-Holstein established that the events which the Spanish Supreme Court is now judging once again were not only not criminal, but also represented an exercise of rights and liberties that every democracy must tolerate if it wants to remain one.

It was also humbling - or a new wake-up call from legal reality - to discover that a Spanish judge could be sued in Belgium for his actions if they were contrary to EU norms, as happened when the current lawsuit against judge Llarena was presented before the Belgian courts. Thereupon all kinds of things were said in response, we were threatened in a range of ways and we were drenched in a shower of unfounded legal complaints, based only on patriotic ardor.

The new surprise, the next clash with reality, then took place when President Puigdemont announced his intention to stand for the European elections in May. The reactions have been the same as before: he can't do it, it won't work, he'll be stopped as soon as he sets foot on Spanish soil, he's nothing more than a madman, etcetera, and so the stories will continue until it's understood what's really happening.

President Puigdemont, and any of the other exiled politicians, can stand for the European elections in May because it's their right and because the rules that regulate the calling of elections are not the ones that some believe apply. Undoubtedly, Spain's Organic Law of General Electoral Regime is a basic norm to be taken into consideration, but the rules contained therein cannot be interpreted or applied separately from those which give origin to the right to vote, and to be voted for, to become part of the European Parliament.

Our legislation is no longer a set of territorially limited rules, but rather, part of a larger set that regulates a series of rights and freedoms that can neither be fine-tuned by the prosecutor nor controlled via the back door. This and nothing else is the basis of what has been done so far, and the many more actions that will be taken in the future: Spain plays in Europe and, therefore, local rules have to be interpreted in the light of European rules.

Independence trial judge Marchena may try to influence a defence witness's statement indicating what the penalties would be for not testifying in the way the prosecutor wants, but this act should be analysed not from the heart, but from the legal perspective established in the European Human Rights Convention. The same will apply with regard to the constant limitations placed on the right to a defence and, above all, in the criminalization of the right to protest, the freedoms of expression and assembly, and even the right to self-determination, which is certainly not a crime.

Llarena may or may not impose a third European Arrest Warrant, but such a warrant would have to be analysed from the perspective of the EU directive regulating this European cooperation instrument in relation to a series of other European agreements that Spain has signed and ratified and that, therefore, are part of the Spanish legal system.

If the judge opts for a third warrant, he will have accept its result and if he doesn't, he must also accept that his choice will then entail other legal consequences which he will not like. That is, whatever he does, he will be bound, not by what he believes is the right to be applied, but rather, by what really must be applied as a right.

Spain's Central Electoral Board may prohibit the display of yellow ribbons and Catalan estelada flags while it also allows a political party that is standing in the elections to promote itself via the courts, by mounting a private prosecution. It may do that, but it will have to assume the legal consequences that this will have in EU law.

Similarly, the Board's members may simultaneously judge the Catalan politicians in the morning and, in the afternoon, resolve the controversies that arise in the middle of the election campaign which they are tasked with regulating impartially. What they cannot avoid, though, is that this has consequences, and its implications are subject to the European Human Rights Convention.

They'll be able to continue saying that there is "state immunity" that prevents a Spanish judge from being judged outside Spain but, in the meantime, they'll have to continue defending that position in a Belgian court, and worse, they'll discover, sooner rather than later, that this controversy has already been resolved by the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

They'll try to arrest - they may even go through with arresting - an elected Member of the European Parliament, but they won't be able to argue that this is in accordance with the norms governing the immunity of all European parliamentarians and, even more importantly, they won't be able to avoid the consequences of their own actions.

They'll be able to say and do many things, but as long as they fail to assume that being a member of a certain club, such as the European Union, has its obligations, they won't understand that a political conflict cannot be resolved in court and that, if they try, they'll find that the rules of the game can't be fine-tuned by the prosecutor nor controlled via the back door.

Things are a little more complex and, no doubt, they'll gradually learn this, because here we are not improvising, and the decision to play the game on a level playing field and with an impartial referee has been, is and will be the best of decisions. Watch out, Europe is coming and I'm going to get some popcorn.

Translation: El Nacional


March 14 | Day 17: Testimony of Teresa Prohias and Josep Lluís Trapero


Testimony of Teresa Prohias

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Teresa Prohias, former director of services in the Catalan government's ministry of the presidency, testifying
Teresa Prohias, former director of services in the Catalan government's ministry of the presidency, testifying

For coverage of Prohias's testimony, go to Catalan News in English: Public servant denies hiring printing firm for referendum ballots


Testimony of Josep Lluís Trapero

Josep Lluís Trapero.jpg

Former Catalan police chief Josep Lluís Trapero, who is facing charges in the National High Court for rebellion and sedition, testifies under the gaze of his defence counsel, Olga Tubau
Former Catalan police chief Josep Lluís Trapero, who is facing charges in the National High Court for rebellion and sedition, testifies under the gaze of his defence counsel, Olga Tubau

For coverage in English of Trapero´s testimony go to:

Catalan Trial: Day 17 summary

(El Nacional) Police chief Trapero blows a hole in Spain's Supreme Court proceedings

(Catalan News) Catalan police 'ready' to arrest Puigdemont and ministers after declaration of independence (3/24)

(3/24) Trapero's statement in the Supreme Court in 10 sentences

(3/24) Trapero states that the court secretary could safely leave through the door of the Economy building

(El País) Ex-Catalan police chief was ready to arrest Puigdemont if ordered to do so

(Vilaweb) Catalan police chief defends in court operation to stop October 2017 referendum


March 13 | Day 16: Testimony of Jaume Mestre and Alberto Royo


Testimony of Jaume Mestre

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Jaume Mestre, in charge of the Catalan government's publicity department, gives evidence
Jaume Mestre, in charge of the Catalan government's publicity department, gives evidence

For coverage of Mestre's testimony, go to:


Testimony of Alberto Royo

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Alberto Royo, former director-general of the Catalan public diplomacy council Diplocat, gives evidence
Alberto Royo, former director-general of the Catalan public diplomacy council Diplocat, gives evidence

For coverage of Royo's testimony go to Catalan News in English: Former Diplocat head denies international observers hired for referendum


About fifty Madrid groups have shown their support for the event, for which over 380 buses have been chartered

About fifty Madrid-based associations and collectives have voiced their support for Saturday’s demonstration, which will kick off at 6 pm in the Spanish capital to protest the trial of the Catalan political prisoners and demand Catalonia’s right to self-determination. The march will start at the Atocha train station and will end at Plaza de Cibeles, where a political rally will be held.

Elena Ortega, whose son Alfon was jailed following the 2012 general strike in Spain, said that “we must stand up for the right to decide, we demand the release of the political prisoners and the safe return of the Catalan exiles, the end of the repression and the persecution against the Catalan people”. She spoke, among others, on behalf of the Madrid groups that held a press conference this morning in Teatro del Barrio, in Madrid’s Lavapiés neighbourhood, to give details about Saturday’s demonstration, which they hope will be massively attended.

The event garnered considerable media attention, with many attending Spanish and Catalan reporters and representatives of the associations that endorsed it. Hundreds of buses have been chartered to drive people to the Madrid march, the vast majority from Catalonia. Catalan National Assembly sources have put the number at 380, but they know that many more will be travelling from other places in Spain, such as the Basque Country, Andalusia and Galicia.

They prefer civil society to take point and that is why no political leaders will lead the march. The slogan of the demonstration will be “There is no democracy without the right to decide. Self-determination is not a crime”. So far no political leaders from Podemos and Izquierda Unida have endorsed the event, but the organisers claim that many sympathisers of those political parties will be demonstrating next Saturday in Paseo del Prado.

'There is a different side to Madrid'

Jaime Pastor is a political science professor at Spain’s Open University and a member of Madrileñ@s por el Derecho a Decidir (Citizens of Madrid for the Right to Decide). Regarded as a key intellectual by the Spanish left, Pastor slammed the trial of the Catalan leaders: “Over two million people who exercised their legitimate right to peaceful disobedience against the police violence are sitting in the dock. We, too, want to be a part of this disobedience movement. Freedom and basic rights, including the right to political participation, are being put on trial. There is another Madrid, one that is very different from the reactionary bloc [that recently staged a demo in the city] demanding a tougher crackdown on the Catalan people”.

Elena Martínez, a spokesperson for Izquierda Castellana (Castilian Left) said that “the demonstration will have great political repercussions and will receive widespread support from the people of Madrid, with a republican, anti-repressive sentiment, in support of dialogue and against any authoritarian regression. There is no democracy without the right to decide. We will not be an accessory to the repression against a fellow people, the Catalans, and we demand freedom for the political prisoners and exiles. This is a question of democracy, our democracy.” And she went on to say that “Today it’s our turn to say that defending Catalonia is defending Madrid, to stand up for our rights and liberties. The most basic rights and freedoms, such as the freedom of speech, assembly and demonstration, are being put on trial. We are all sitting in the dock”.

Translation: Vilaweb


March 12 | Day 15: Testimony of Rosa Maria Sans, Enric Vidal and Enrique Mari


NOTE: From today on, this blog will link readers to Catalan public media's coverage of the trial for the detail of witness testimony. This will provide more time for the blog to carry more comment on the trial and on its political impact in the run-up to the April 28 Spanish general elections.


For coverage of Day 15 (March 12) go to:


March 11 | Day 14: Defence cross-examination of Manel Castellví, testimony of Emili Quevedo, Albert Planas, Francisco Juan Fuentes, Manuel Santos and David Palanques (Catalan public media coverage in English here)

 


For an English-language summary of Day 14 go to:

 

Defence cross-examination of Manel Castellví

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Xavier Melero, defence counsel for Joaquim Forn, cross-examining Manel Castellví
Xavier Melero, defence counsel for Joaquim Forn, cross-examining Manel Castellví

Castellví made these points in answer to defence counsel cross-examination:

  • Forn introduced no changes in the leadership personnel or structure of the Mossos on becoming interior minister in July 2017.

  • Neither the CNP nor the Civil Guard closed any potential polling station before October 1.

  • At a September 28 meeting between the three police forces, all agreed that they didn't expect acts of violence on October 1.

  • The sleep-ins  and other activities in schools and other centres on the night of September 30 had nothing to do with the Generalitat. Nothing was being conducted related to the referendum.

  • The feared actions of "radical independentism" did not eventuate.

  • The Mossos leadership did not set up any groups for action, which in hindsight was a mistake.

  • The CDRs were overwhelmingly made up of people unknown to the police who wanted to guarantee the success of the referendum.

  • The ANC and Òmnium have always called demonstrations under the banner of non-violence. "There have never been any incidents and we consider them our interlocutors because of their attitude and the results of their management."

  • The government did not intervene to change any aspect of the Mossos's plan for October 1.


Testimony of Emili Quevedo

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Emili Quevedo, former head of strategic planning of the Mossos d'Esquadra, gives evidence
Emili Quevedo, former head of strategic planning of the Mossos d'Esquadra, gives evidence

Quevedo, who faces a charge of disobedience in another case and could refuse to answer any questions, says he will answer all put to him. Replying to the questions of the counsel for the Prosecutor-General and the Solicitor-General and the people's prosecution, Quevedo says that:

  • The former head of the police department, Albert Batlle, did not feel comfortable with being relieved of this position but did not tell him, Quevedo, why.

  • In an initial meeting between the Mossos command and the new minister Joaquim Forn, Forn made it clear that he understood the distinction between the political orientation of the Puigdemont government and the need for the police to comply with the law. However, he disagreed with a statement of Forn's that on October 1 the Mossos would behave as on a normal polling day: it seemed to him unrealistic.

  • The Mossos had a coordinating committee that meet several times to assess "the climate of tension" that Catalonia was experiencing. There was a need to give "special protection to various persons and institutions".

  • On September 20, the Mossos had various public order units ready outside the Department of Economy to guarantee that the court search party could leave (300 officers in total).

  • Trapero charged Quevedo with producing a report on how many police officers would be needed to stop the referendum: the answer was between 30,000 and 40,000. "Leaving the streets empty we might have arrived at 12,000, but we still wouldn't have been able to close all the polling stations."

  • On a normal election day, 3000 officers are assigned to security: on October 1 the number was 7000.

  • Trapero told Puigdemont and Forn that the Mossos were concerned about the atmosphere of rising tension in the lead-up to October 1 and would abide by their legal obligations on the day. At a September 26 meeting Trapero asked Puigdemont to call off the referendum. The police chiefs expressed their disagreement with the government's "operational principles" for October 1 because they counterposed compliance with the court order to stop the referendum with maintaining public order.

  • There was a lot of confusion about what the legal secretary of Court Number 13 wanted to do on September 20--leave the building by herself or with the whole search team.

  • Once it was realised that it would be impossible to close down the voting centres the o bjective was to have as little police presence as possible--two or three officers per polling station.

  • Trapero himself was responsible for increasing the number of police officers present on October 1, bringing into operation units that would normally never have been deployed in this work.

  • Interior minister Forn did not change any of the Mossos's guidelines for action on October 1.


Testimony of Albert Planas

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Albert Planas, former production manager of private mail company Unipost, testifies
Albert Planas, former production manager of private mail company Unipost, testifies

In his testimony Planas made the following points:

  • He received no instructions as to how to deliver the letters that contained advice to recipients that they would be required to staff voting tables on October 1.

  • Until Unipost received a communication from the High Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC), the firm was unaware that the letters were for the referendum, only that they were "for the Generalitat".

  • The day the Civil Guard raided the Unipost building there was a demonstration outside, but he had no trouble entering.

  • The letters had not been sent because no official order had been received.

  • When the Civil Guard entered the building and demanded that everyone hand over their mobile phones, he complied willingly.

  • At no point did the Civil Guard explain that he was under investigation.


Testimony of Francisco Juan Fuentes

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Francisco Juan Fuentes, former distribution manager at Unipost, giving evidence
Francisco Juan Fuentes, former distribution manager at Unipost, giving evidence

In his testimony  Fuentes made the following points:

  • At  the time of the Civil Guard search he did not know what was in the letters.

  • For him they were ordinary mail because in the majority of cases there was no confirmation of delivery part.

  • The letters produced comments among the workers, because  Unipose was in receivership: "There were comments in the press and people were wondering if we were going to have problems with a delivery for the Generalitat."

  • The client told us to start the delivery as soon as possible, but since we didn't have an order we stopped it.

  • His superior told him not to send the letters even if an order arrived but to advise him. In any case, the contact person with the Generalitat told them not to deliver the letters on morning of the Civil Guard raid.

  • He didn't know whether an invoice had been sent: "That wasn't my job."

  • "Unipost was in receivership and if a good client asked us for favour we did it."


Testimony of Antonio Manuel Santos

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Antonio Manuel Santos, former Unipost distribution manager for Barcelona and Badalona, giving evidence
Antonio Manuel Santos, former Unipost distribution manager for Barcelona and Badalona, giving evidence

In his testimony  Santos made the following points:

  • He denied having spoken to the Generalitat about the delivery of the letters that contained advice to recipients that they would be required to staff voting tables on October 1.

  • His superior had asked him to give priority treatment to Generalitat mail.

  • The letters for distribution never finally arrived.

  • On September 19 the Civil Guard raided the Barcelona premises of Unipost without a earch warrant.


News (Ara, March 11)

Observers slam Marchena for cutting off defence questions about Spanish police violence

They believe this practice jeopardises the defendants’ right “to legal counsel and a fair trial”

International Trial Watch, the platform that has been sending observers to the trial of the Catalan leaders in Madrid, issued a statement on Monday outlining their conclusions about the last few court sessions. Among other issues, ITW criticises Justice Manuel Marchena, president of the tribunal, for “cutting off” the defence lawyers during witness cross-examination, “especially when they were pointing out a contradiction or trying to contrast their testimony against other evidence”. The platform highlights the fact that this was more frequent “when the subject of police violence against 1-O voters cropped up”. According to their statement, this jeopardises the defendants’ “right to legal counsel, to a level playing field and, ultimately, to a fair trial”.

That is one of the conclusions in the report written by the four jurists who monitored the trial last week in Madrid’s Supreme Court, when the commanding officers of the Guardia Civil and National Police in Catalonia during the independence referendum appeared on the witness stand, together with the coordinator of the police operation against the referendum, Diego Pérez de los Cobos.

The assessment of week four of the trial by the four observers indicates that Justice Marchena, who presides over the Supreme Court, repeatedly interrupted the defence lawyers during witness cross-examination, thus preventing “the verification of the credibility” of some testimonies, which they feel “is akin to allowing, among other things, the trivialisation of police violence on October 1, 2017 [the day of the independence referendum]”.

Furthermore, the observers voice their “utmost concern” over the fact that the witnesses were allowed to follow the session before taking the stand, which they thought “was particularly significant this week”, when high-ranking police officers were questioned after having heard their own superiors’ statements. This “might have led to them weaving an accusatory narrative that was hardly spontaneous”.

The observers also queried the fact that Sebastián Trapote, who was the head of the Spanish Police on 1-O and denied having ever been indicted by a court of law when he took the witness stand, even though he “had shot someone in the back and killed them in 1974, as was revealed by the press later”. The International Trial Watch press release remarks that “none of that was mentioned when the witness was questioned by the judge before the cross-examination began and we wonder what the court’s stance will be following such an oversight”.

The observers who wrote the report are Mónica Aranda, Associate Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Barcelona, Jorge Correcher, Assistant Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Valencia, Gustavo Palmieri, a professor with Argentina’s Centre for Legal and Social Studies, and Hadi Cin, a lawyer and member of the board of the Contemporary Association of Lawyers.

Translation: Ara


Week ending March 10


March 10 | Court not sitting


March 9 | Court not sitting


March 8 | Court not sitting


Comment (Ara, Mònica Planas, March 6)

Lies of the Spanish government’s delegate during trial of the political prisoners

Lídia Heredia, presenter of TV3 breakfast show Èls Matins' [The Mornings]
 

This Tuesday morning [March 5], while Enric Millo (the Spanish government’s delegate in Catalonia during the independence referendum on 1 October 2017) was giving evidence before Madrid’s Supreme Court, he made reference to his appearance on the Catalan public television channel, TV3, which he accused of having twisted his words.

Lídia Heredia, the presenter and director of the morning show on which Millo was interviewed, 'Els matins', sought to shed light on the situation. She showed the audience the statements made by Millo on her program which had allegedly been manipulated. She showed two clips in which Millo appeared, back to back, in their entirety. The first came from the trial that very morning, in which he denied having apologised on behalf of the Spanish police [for beating up voters on October 1]. The second clip was from his interview on 6 October 2017, five days after the police baton charges outside the polling stations, in which he clearly apologised. Heredia broadcast unedited excerpts which were sufficient to make Millo’s words speak for themselves.

When responding to the prosecutor’s questions, Millo stated that during his appearance on TV3, after spending forty-five minutes watching video on a continuous loop of people being truncheoned, he had declared that Puigdemont had sole responsibility and apologised on behalf of the Catalan president: "Taking stock of the situation and regretting what had happened and concerned for the people who, in all good faith, had been deceived by their government into thinking that what they were doing was legal, I apologised. In that sense I apologised. Then my words were twisted in the headline. The headline was designed to grab attention, as if I were apologizing for the behaviour of the security forces. Nothing could be further from the truth". Next TV3 broadcast Millo’s statements on 6 October (last minute of this video). At no time did he mention Puigdemont. Instead, he said that "When I see the images, and when I know that there were people who were shoved and struck and that there’s even someone who still hasn’t been discharged from hospital, I can’t feel anything but regret and I apologise on behalf of the officers involved, for any possible consequences, and [on behalf of] those who were in charge…".

During the lunchtime news programme (TN migdia), anchor Raquel Sans showed the same video excerpts while standing outside the Supreme Court. As with 'Els matins', they allowed the audience to reach their own conclusions.

Millo has been exposed, along with his lies and his thoughtless cynicism, in believing that the TV images wouldn’t reveal the truth. This latest incident highlights a phenomenon which has already occurred on several occasions during the trial: both the prosecution and certain witnesses use TV3 (and the euphemism of "certain media outlets in Catalonia") to justify deceptions, negative interpretations, appeals to the masses and fact-twisting. The discredit that TV3 has been subjected to all these years now serves as a convenient tool to conceal lies and spread falsehoods. And the time for the defence to show videos during the trial is still to come. Meanwhile, we just can’t wait for Lídia Heredia to invite Enric Millo on her show again, so he can clear up this mystery once and for all.

Translation: Ara


March 7 | Day 13: Testimony of Sebastian Trapote, Ángel Gozalo and Manel Castellví (Catalan public media coverage in English here and here)


For an English-language summary of Day 13 go to:

Testimony of Sebastian Trapote

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Former head of the National Police Corps (CNP), Sebatian Trapote, giving evidence
Former head of the National Police Corps (CNP), Sebatian Trapote, giving evidence

Trapote's testimony largely repeated that of lead prosecution witnesses Pérez de los Cobos, José Antonio Nieto and Enric Millo (see below). Additional points made by Trapote that were not covered in their statements:

  • The police lodged in hotels in Reus, Figueres and on the coast north of Barcelona (Maresme) were kept awake at night by the continuous noise of the demonstrators.

  • The Prosecutor-General's Office in Barcelona ask that the CNP have special units available in case the Mossos defaulted in their duty to stop the referendum. The CNP consequently had a "large deployment" ready to act in case this happened on October 1.

  • To stop voting on October 1, at least 50 officers per polling station would have been needed.

  • The CNP didn't ask for back-up from municipal police because they had been told these didn't have enough resources.

  • 65 CNP officers were hurt on the day

  • There were occasional confrontations between Mossos and national police on the day.

  • The CNP didn't seal off any voting centres because that job had been assigned by the judge to the Mossos.

  • He didn't know how many injuries resulted from the action of the CNP.

  • There was no possibility of mediation between the CNP and the people surrounding the voting centres because the police task was to requisition the election material and the resistance was "brutal".

  • The PP hired buses to bring people to the hotels where the police were lodged to express their support.

  • 50 cases of police violence on the day are before the courts but no-one has so far been found guilty.

  • The "inaction" of the Mossos on the morning of October 1 consisted in letting people enter polling stations to vote and/or allowing them to be surrounded by crowds. "The Mossos carried out a plan focussed on guaranteeing collective security and for that reason it was impossible for them to make any intervention in the voting centres."

  • No police officers were hospitalised as a result of the action of October 1.

  • The CNP had done a study of the likely scenario on October 1 which stated that it was likely that there would be "very many problems".

  • Police officers were authorised to take video footage on the day and that this is available for the court.

  • On September 20 the CNP planned to conduct of the CUP headquaretrs because there was an "important amount" of election propaganda there. He did not know if it was oficial or the CUP's own propaganda.


Testimony of Ángel Gozalo

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Ángel Gozalo, former head of the Civil Guard, giving evidence
Ángel Gozalo, former head of the Civil Guard, giving evidence

Gozalo's testimony largely repeated that of lead prosecution witnesses Pérez de los Cobos, José Antonio Nieto and Enric Millo (see below). Additional points made by Gozalo that were not covered in their statements:

  • The organisers of the referendum used an "eve of war" language to incite people to defend the polling stations.

  • The Civil Guard noticed that at some polling stations there were no Mossos and that their equipment on the day was not "adequate",

  • In Lleida, some Mossos's vehicles kept the Civil Guard under surveillance.

  • The planning of which colleges to intervene in changed during the day because outside some of them there were so many people.

  • During the period of searches by the Civil Guard after September 7, there were 131 "expressions of antipathy" towards the corps.

  • The wives and children of Civil Guards suffered "repression" when they went to school or did the shopping.

  • There were some polling stations where the Civil Guard was not met with resistance or hostility. In the majority of polling stations, children, the elderly and disabled people were not in the front of defence perimeters.

  • "Not even as a joke" did the opertiuon have as a goal closing 1500 polling stations.

  • Civil Guard action was set to start at 0800 hours on October 1, and "minutes beforehand" he advised the Mossos.

  • On September 20, at the search of the Department of Economy, some Civil Guard vehicles were parked in parking stations, while the two that were trashed did contain heavy calibre weapòns.

  • The gas used at Aiguaviva on October 1 was not tear gas, but an irritant spray designed to dissuade people from blocking the work of the forces of law and order.


Testimony of Manel Castellví

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Manel Castellví, Mossos commissioner in charge of the force's general intelligence unit on October 1, giving evidence
Manel Castellví, Mossos commissioner in charge of the force's general intelligence unit on October 1, giving evidence

Replying to the questions of the counsel for the Prosecutor-General and the Solicitor-General and the people's prosecution, Castellví says that:

  • In July 2017, after the appointment of Joaquim Forn as Catalan interior minister, the Mossos produced "risk scenarios" related to September 11 [the Diada, Catalan National Day], October 1 and October 12 [National Day of Spain]. At this time they detected on the social networks the beginnings of what were to become the Referendum Defence Committees (CDR). The people involved "came from very heterogeneous backgrounds", including the ANC, Mortgage Victims Platform (PAH), as well as "classical" organisations like the CUP. As October 1 approached, the CDRs multiplied as more and more people got involved.

  • On September 28 and 29, in execution of the September 27 court order of judge Armas, the Mossos carried out 4469 actions warning those in charge of locales designated as polling stations for October 1 that the referendum was illegal and they were not to assist its realisation.

  • The Mossos could not close down these locales where social activities were being carried out because they were only authorised to stop activities related to the referendum.

  • 7800 officers were deployed on October 1, beginning at 0600 hours. They managed to close 134 polling stations. 239 polling stations did not open. If the pair of Mossos assigned to a polling stations could not close it, they were to inform their regional command and if this could not provide back-up, they had to inform Mossos's central command.

  • The riot squad could not be deployed for this work because demonstrations had been planned for the day in Barcelona, including one demonstration outside a Spanish government building.

  • The report on the likely character of October 1 with which the Mossos were operating was one of mass, non-violent peaceful resistance. Nonetheless, an escalation to a scenario of violent resistance was not ruled out.

  • He had left a September 28 meeting with government ministers in a state of "frustration" because they insisted that despite these risks the referendum was going ahead on the basis of the popular mandate received. He had stressed in the meeting that the Mossos would carry out the September 27 court order.

  • After the events of September 20, the Mossos heads were increasingly concerned that "radical independentism" would take over the CDRs and that this could lead to scenes of conflict. "Radical independentism" included the revolutionary independentist youth organisation Arran, the Student Union of the Catalan Lands (SEPC) and the Workers' Union Coordinating Committee (COS). After he explained this to Pérez de los Cobos, the Prosecutor-General's Office asked for an 800-strong increase in the Mossos's deployment.

  • The Mossos's leaders anticipated that the majority of the polling stations would be open and/or occupied and, if the pair of officers assigned each station could not secure its closure mediation was to be used. If this did not work, force was to be used as a last resort, with the Mossos requesting back-up from the CNP and the Civil Guard.

  • However, at around 0900 hours, they saw on TV the first of the interventions of the CNP and Civil Guard units. "That surprised us a bit because what the Mossos command had always conveyed was that the procedure would be that the Mossos would have to ask for help from the CNP and Civil Guard forces."

  • All of the police forces made planning mistakes: "I believe we all got it wrong. The presence of the CNP, Civil Guard and Mossos was inadequate."

  • Children were not used "as human shields", even though there were children in the polling stations.

NOTE: The cross examination of Castellví by defence counsel begins on Monday, March 11


March 6 | Day 12: Cross-examination of Pérez de los Cobos continues, testimony of Monteserrat del Toro, Alberto Fraile, Sergi Travé, Pedro Buil Armengol, Vicent Nos Ripollès, Quim Franquesa, Teresa Guix, Olga Solanas, Ferran Burriel, Núria Llorach and Xevi Xirgo (Catalan public media coverage in English here)

 


For an English-language summary of Day 12 go to:

Cross-examination of Pérez de los Cobos by Andreu Van den Eynde, defence counsel for Oriol Junqueras and Raül Romeva

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Andreu Van den Eynde, defence counsel for Raül Romeva and Oriol Junqueras, cross-examines Pérez de los Cobos
Andreu Van den Eynde, defence counsel for Raül Romeva and Oriol Junqueras, cross-examines Pérez de los Cobos

You had no direct experience of what happened around the electoral colleges on October 1, but were told by others? I wasn't present in any locale.

Did you have any information via Civil Guard channels of what the Civil Guard unit doing the searches for Barcelona court number 13 [ordering searches that might incriminate the independence movement] was finding? I was aware of the interventions they were doing, but no more than any other member of the public.

Did you take into account as coordinator of the police intervention the number of people who were likely to vote? Whether one million or fifteen million were voting wasn't important, so long as their attitude was not that of obstructing the law.

Do you agree that compliance with the law should take precedence over maintaining social harmony? No, my position is that social harmony is impossible without respect for the law.

[Van den Eynde has the court hear Pérez de los Cobos saying in yesterday's testimony that "complying with the law takes precedence over social harmony" and after discussion presiding judge Marchena rules that Pérez de los Cobos need not explain the apparent contraduction between his two statements.]

Cross-examination of Pérez de los Cobos by Jordi Pina, defence counsel for Jordi Sànchez, Josep Rull and Jordi Turull

What criteria were used to assign CNP and Civil Guard forces to different regions? The old demarcations that existed before the creation of the Mossos.

What criteria were used to decide where units would intervene? This was decided by regional leaders of units, knowledgeable about the situation in their region.

What explains that inventions took place in some cities (e.g. Sabadell, L'Hospitalet), but not in larger cities (e.g. Badalona, Terrassa)? I don't know.

Did you know that there were interventions outside two private colleges where the police units did not enter to look for referendum material, but to block the entrance [one where former Catalan President Artur Mas was to vote]? No

Who informed you, either in writing or verbally, that there were hooded persons in centres? The report I received from the CNP. Did it specify the locales and include photographic evidence? No.

You said there were no police charges on October 1. Explain what you mean by police charge. A police charge is an decisive action to dissolve a demonstration or to evacuate a location. I believe that on that day no demonstration was dissolved and no evacuation carried out.

Would 15-20 police with shields and helmets and batons in the air trying to shift a group of people constitute a police charge?

[Presiding judge Larena disallows the question, saying that the witness has made his position clear. A clash ensues between Marchena and Pina as to whether Marchena is protecting witness Pérez de los Cobos from relevant questions. Marchena rules Pina's questioning out of order.]

Did police officers beat citizens who were seated with their arms in the air on their extremities? There were dozens of interventions and in some of these individuals who were trying to prevent the access or exit of the units who were carrying out the orders of the lawful authorities were affected. I did not get detailed descriptions in the reports I received.

Did you know that pepper spray was used against citizens in the centre of Aiguaviva? I am unaware of that.

Did you agree with Mr Trapero's criterion about not using force if it endangered the vulnerable (made at the September 28 Security Committee meeting]? I agree that any action should always aim to avoid that, but not that it become converted into the ultimate goal of an intervention.

Were you aware that any of those present around the electoral colleges were carrying arms or sticks or went with material with which to confront the State's security forces? No.

Other questions from defence counsel

The interventions of the CNP and Civil Guard were aimed not at closing the polling stations but at confiscating material? Yes.

Did the Mossos supply you with the information as to who was in charge of the various voting centres? I believe so, on September 30.

Was this information conveyed to the heads of the regional units? I imagine so.

Are you aware that on October 1 it was raining in Catalonia, and that "hooded" could refer to people wearing hooded rainjackets [and not balaclavas]? Yes.

Did the you fulfil the court order successfully? Yes, in so much that October 1 was not a referendum.


Testimony of Montserrat del Toro

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Montserrat del Toro, the court secretary of Barcelona Court Number 13, which ordered the main searches aimed at finding evidence incriminating the independence process, asked to give her evidence anonymously
Montserrat del Toro, the court secretary of Barcelona Court Number 13, which ordered the main searches aimed at finding evidence incriminating the independence process, asked to give her evidence anonymously

Replying to the questions of the counsel for the Prosecutor-General's Office, del Toro says that:

  • On September 20, accompanied by a legal search team and uniformed Civil Guard security, she executed a search warrant in four offices in the Catalan Department of Economy in central Barcelona on behalf of the judge of Court Number 13 of Barcelona. The homes of the occupants of these offices, including Josep Maria Jové, secretary of the department, were searched at the same time. This was one of 40 searches conducted on the day.

  • From 1000 an uninterrupted murmur from the people outside the building could be heard, along with cries of "They shall not pass" and "We will vote".

  • At 1330 hours, the occupants of the offices, who had been detained at home, still could not reach the building because of the big crowd outside.

  • At 1600 hours, the search team had completed its search of the second of the four offices, but had not eaten. It was told by Civil Guard security that they couldn't send out for pizza because "they would know it was for us". The Civil Guard could not leave the building.

  • The private secretaries of Jové said that material that was not in his private office could not be taken by the search team under the terms of the court order from the judge of Court Number 13. It was not included in the requisitioned material.

  • At 1630 hours, a Civil Guard appeared with a package containing 5 or 6 bread rolls, bought by a Mossa [Catalan policewoman] "who had taken pity on us".

  • Those who had been detained at home never arrived, because of the mass of people around the building.

  • Del Toro: "I heard the voice of Carme Forcadell (that's what they told me) and the shouts of 'Not a Step Back' and 'We Will Vote'."

  • At 1700 hours, a huge shout was heard, because Junqueras (the Vice-President and the minister for Finance) had arrived. He expressed no interest in meeting me.

  • The last search began a little after 1900 hours, and all was finished at 2040 hours.

  • She went onto the roof of the building around 2115, and took photos of the crowd below to incorporate in her report. From the roof she could see that her request for a helicopter was impossible to fulfil and that a "sea of people was waiting for the search team to leave".

  • Afterwards she went down to the lobby, where she could see people entering and leaving the building, making use of a blue pass. Later she saw an avalanche of people pressing against the glass of the main entrance. She was afraid.

  • [ANC president] Jordi Sànchez had said that they couldn't do anything to shift the mass of people that was pressing against the door. After that she returned to where the rest of the team was waiting with the requisitioned material. The others told her that they had received instructions to resist and that their chiefs had no plans to remove them from the building.

  • From 1600 hours she had lost contact with the outside because the mobile networks in the area had collapsed.

  • She was offered three options for leaving building by the Civil Guard lieutenant who was her intermediary. The first was for her to leave alone via the front door guarded by two Mossos d'Esquadra. She never contemplated that. Firstly because the whole legal search team had to leave as it has entered, secondly because it wasn't a safe option, given what she had seen and photographed. The second offer was that a passage of civilians would be formed and she could leave, She didn't know whether that would be with or without a police guard. This was rejected for the same reasons, also because she couldn't run the risk of losing the requisitioned material. The third offer was that the passage would be formed by agents of the riot squad. This was also rejected for the same reasons.

  • She managed to ring the judge of Court Number 13 [Ramírez Sunyer] from a different location where there was mobile coverage and told him that he had to "get me out of here". He rang Trapero and gave him half an hour to get her out of there. At 2330, two plain clothes Mossos informed her that there was a terrace via which she could leave the building, via the next door theatre. This she did, passing over a low wall between the terrace of the ministry building and that of the theatre and entering the changing rooms of the theatre, then leaving the theatre by the front door and entering a car of the Mossos after midnight. The manager of the theatre was reluctant for her to leave via the theatre and had to be persuaded by the Mossos.

Replying to the questions of the counsel for the Solicitor-General's Office, Toro says that:

  • She called for a helicopter because she saw that she couldn't leave via the front door.

Cross-examination of del Toro by Marina Roig, defence counsel for Jordi Cuixart:

You searched in an office that was not specified in the warrant issue by judge Ramírez Sunyer. How did that happen? I rang the judge and he said to search all areas related to the election processes and that that was covered by the warrant.

Did you know that legal counsel for the Department rang Ramírez Sunyer to question whether a computer not in an area covered by the search warrant could be an object of the search and that the judge accepted that it could not? I didn´t.

At what time of the day were you informed that the passage had been created to allow people to enter and leave the building? In the morning.

Did anyone explain to you that a stage had been set up to allow speeches and musical acts during the day? No, we heard shouts in the morning and then the sounds of tumult in the afternoon.

Did anyone communicate to you that at 2230 Sànchez and Cuixart indicated to the police that they would be moving to call off the demonstration at midnight? No, because at that point I was talking to the judge.

Did you hear them call off the demonstration from the top of the Civil Guard  vehicles? No, I didn't hear that.

Other cross-examination of del Toro:

Did the search warrant mention specify that the charges being investigated were rebellion and sedition? Yes.

Were you aware that people entered and left the building all day long? I was focussed on my work.

Are you a follower of [names various right-wing and unionist web sites]? Disallowed by the presiding judge.

Did you make a comment on your Facebook account about the Republican Left of Catalonia, to the effect that they are "destroyers" [in English in original]? There were incidents of vandalism in the town where I live, but I don't remember that they were connected to the Republican Left.

Do you remember on which floor of the building you were when you thought you heard the voice of Mrs Forcadell? No.

Why did you not say in the preliminary inquiry that you had heard the voice of Mrs Forcadell? Why didn't I relate everything that had happened? Because I had been under tremendous stress and I held out for three to four days in my workplace  afterwards trying to organise the requisitioned material for the investigating judge and the following Monday my health gave way. And a month later? A month later the National High Court rang me and I was able to give evidence by teleconference...And you remember much more detail now, a year and a half later than at the time? The year, five months and 16 days that has passed since then have allowed me to relive every day what happened and fix it in the memory for this day. How do you explain that with the thousands of people there no-one heard Mrs Forcadell speak? I didn´t say that I heard Mrs Forcadell speak: I heard a voice that, by association of ideas, a police officer identified it, and from the tone of voice and mood it might have been her, but I obviously didn't see her.


Alberto Fraile, manager of Hotel Gaudí in the town of Reus, gives evidence that around 100 national police stayed in the hotel during the period of the referendum, that there were demonstrations outside the hotel demanding "Police Out", but that he came under no pressure to remove the police and that they left when their booking ended.


Sergi Travé, owner of the Hotel Travé in Figueres, gives evidence that there were two small demonstrations outside the hotel against the hundred or so police staying there, that they were peaceful and hence he didn't call the Mossos, but that he had to disconnect the hotel phone because of all the calls he was receiving demanding that he remove the police from the hotel.


Pedro Buil Armengol, the harbourmaster of the Port of Palamós, says that there were no technical reasons why the vessel carrying Spanish police forces to stop the referendum couldn't berth in the port, contradicting former infrastructure minister Josep Rull. The decision to refuse a berth was taken by the Catalan government, acting through Ports of Catalonia, and not by the Port of Palamós.


Computer expert Vicent Nos Ripollès says he met with members of the Catalan government to discuss the possibility of developing a blockchain-based voting system, a job that would have been worth €400,000-€500,000, but that the work never went ahead. He did not charge the government for the time he had spent developing the possible project.


Nos's partner Quim Franquesa explains that he had a meeting with Puigdemont and other government ministers about developing an electronic voting system for the referendum, and also with members of the government's Centre for Telecommunications and Information Technologies (CTTI). "We incurred no cost", except that of the meetings. He had the sensation that the CTTI technicians were uninterested in developing an electronic voting system.


Teresa Guix, designer of a referendum web site, says that she designed it at the beginning of 2017, was later contacted about it by the Civil Guard, and decided not to seek payment ("presented a negative invoice"). The final referendum web design differed from that she had developed, which publicised the National Pact for the Referendum.


Olga Solanas, manager of communications firm Focus Media, which has done work for the Catalan government, explains that the firm distributed the publicity for the campaign for Catalans abroad to register to vote, but that it was not paid for. The firm was to do another campaign in early September 2017, the order arrived on September 5, but the firm rejected doing it because it was "political".


Ferran Burriel, head of advertising agency NothingAD Communications, explains that the Catalan government gave them the job of putting announcements on the internet regarding the benefits of Catalans living abroad registering to vote. "I did not know that the government had already received orders not to proceed with the referendum [...] I saw no relation between the campaign and the referendum. The campaign was in March, the referendum in October." Burriel says that his firm billed the government €80,000 for the job, but after talking with them extended an offsetting credit for the same sum.


Núria Llorach, acting head of the Catalan Corporation of Audiovisual Media (CCMA), declines to be questioned on the grounds that she is facing charges in another court (Barcelona Court Number 13).


Xevi Xirgo, editor of El Punt-Avui, confirms the paper published various referendum-related ads, but stopped when they received an injunction from the High Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC). The ads were published without charge, "although it is not usual to do that". The paper had previously issued an invoice for work done in relation to the campaign for Catalans overseas to register to vote.


March 5 | Day 11: Testimony of Enric Millo, Neus Munté, Juan Antonio Puigserver and Diego Pérez de los Cobos (Catalan public media coverage in English here and here)

 


For an English-language summary of Day 11 go to:

Testimony of Enric Millo

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Enric Millo, former Spanish government representative in Catalonia, giving evidence
Enric Millo, former Spanish government representative in Catalonia, giving evidence

Replying to the questions of the counsel for the Prosecutor-General's Office, Millo says that:

(Regarding the period up to October 1)

  • Puigdemont told him "in a very clear fashion" that his intention was to find a "solution" that would not imply a clash with the Spanish state, but events have proven that to be false. Puigdemont was not interested in talking about anything that wasn't "getting the go-ahead to have an independence referendum in Catalonia. I told him that wouldn't be possible. It was outside the framework of the law."

  • Millo told Puigdemont that he was setting out a suicidal proposal with the referendum, that it would fracture society and provoke irreversible damage to Catalonia. "I told Puigdemont that so long as he didn't call a referendum we could try to do everything possible to find a way out on the basis of issues of general interest. He said: 'I can't turn back. I'll call the referendum and we'll keep talking.'"

  • Junqueras had a private meeting with Millo at which he said  that he had "always been an supporter of independence and I don't have to prove that, but others in the government have never been and now they have to prove it." Junqueras had said he would prefer not to move in a hurry but was bound by what the government did.

  • Interior minister Joaquim Forn had told Millo that he wanted to see a positive relation between the Mossos and the Spanish police forces. He said that the referendum would take place and "we'll guarantee that referendum day will unfold in absolute normality."

  • The Catalan government had called on mayors for their support and in response he had sent them a letter as Spanish government representative, saying that it was necessary to block the referendum.

  • The laws of disconnection [adopted on September 6 and 7] liquidated the Statute and the Constitution at a stroke and aspired to create the fiction of a dual legality in Catalonia. It was Kafkaesque.

  • There were acts of violence and intimidation in Catalonia from September 10,  2017 up until article 155 was applied. "I ended up counting between 100 and 150 different acts" [including] "throwing objects, including incendiary objects" and "the intimidation of police officers and court search teams. [...] Painting up 'Millo, dead' isn't very peaceful."

  • [The CDRs] apparently work in a spontaneous and autonomous manner, but a detailed study of their functioning supports the conclusion that they have a structure and organisation. [...] It can't be denied that some CDRs are violent."

  • "The government said that events like those of September 20 were festive, folkloric. But that wasn't the case. The activity of the court search team was viewed as an attack."

  • There was no activity by the Mossos to stop the referendum before October 1."

  • "The injunction of the High Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) made it clear than the illegal referendum could not be celebrated and ordered preventing the use of centres until October 1. If a centre was still open on October 1, it was to be entered, election material seized and the centre evacuated and closed."

  • "The Catalan government and the Mossos did not agree with the presence of Spanish police forces in Catalonia and wanted them to leave. We made it clear that we disagreed."

  • "I'm not certain that the Mossos closed any polling station before October 1. I believe they didn't."

  • On activities in schools and other centres on the night before October 1: "It was a campaign of a festive character, apparently innocent and spontaneous and, by coincidence, across the whole of Catalonia." The objective was to keep the schools open for the referendum.

  • On the September 28 Security Committee meeting [between representatives of the Catalan and Spanish interior ministries]: "It was grotesque. The Catalan government said there would be a referendum of self-determination on October 1 and let's see how we can coordinate to see it takes place in total normality."

  • "There was a 'political alignment' between the Catalan government and the approach and guidelines for action of [Mossos] head Trapero. [...] Trapero said that his obligation was to implement the court order, but he didn't tell us how. But he did say that in no case would he use force to stop the referendum."

  • "Not a day passed without a feeling of disquiet and concern in Catalan society about what was happening [with] dozens of actions and rallies, and incidents of harrassment, of siege. [...] The climate of tension raised the prospect of a risk to the physical safety of persons if the instructions to the police were not followed. "

(Regarding October 1)

  • "On October 1 I asked for citizen collaboration in allowing the police do their job. [...] There were persons who didn't want to take part in the voting but simply to block the action of the court police."

  • "At 1200 hours we could already see that this was a referendum."

  • "Puigdemont was tremendously irresponsible when he applauded the behaviour of the persons who were defending the ballot boxes and the polling stations."

  • "On October 1 there were walls of people, masses of people, disposed to confront and clash with the court police, sometimes violently."

  • There were many people, deceived by the Catalan government, who thought that this was a "normal" voting day.

  • "It's obvious that the Mossos did not fulfil the court injunction to stop the referendum."

  • The responsability for the violence of October 1 lay with the Catalan government.

  • Millo supports the theory of the fake images of October 1: "There's an image of a boy with a bloodied head, and it's from a charge by the Mossos in 2012."

  • "When the riot police go into action, the images are never agreeable, not on October 1 nor in any other place in the world."

  • The police experienced a very serious situation, being attacked by people using martial arts. Other evidence of anti-police violence were a bullet-proof vest torn from side to side ("A finger nail couldn't do that"), an attack by a "quad", fractured fingers and the use of the "Fairy trap"--putting detergent at the entrance to  voting stations so that the police would slip and fall and be able to be kicked. He saw evidence of demonstrator violence on social networks that was not broadcast on television.

  • "I apologised to the people who had gone in good faith to the polling stations on October 1 and found themselves in a totally unpleasant situation, but the person whom they should have been asking to apologise was the president of the Catalan government. "

(After October 1)

  • "On October 3 there were more than 80 roads and railway lines cut in Catalonia. There was a clear intention to collapse the territory and violent situations were produced."

  • "Nobody in Catalonia throught the Unilateral Declaration of Independence was symbolic. Neither the situation, nor the context nor the proclamations suggested that this was a joke. It was on in earnest."

Replying to the questions of the counsel for the Solicitor-General's Office, Millo says that:

  • "A relation can be made out between the pro-sovereignty organisations [ANC and Òmnium] and the activities called by the CDRs."

  • "I don't have information as to whether the Mossos prevented the use of public spaces for the referendum. If they did I'm not aware of it."

  • The point of October 3 was to show ability to control the territory of Catalonia.

Cross-examination of Millo by Xavier Melero, defence counsel for Joaquim Forn, former Catalan interior minister:

Does he know the exact number of wounded on October 1? Not formally.

Does he know why some polling stations did not open on October 1? No.

Did the Mossos fail to carry out any part of the instruction made to them by the Prosecutor-General's Office on September 25 (to notify those responsible for centres designated as polling stations that they could not be used for that purpose), given that the ruling of TSJC judge Mercedes Armas of September 27 ruled against stopping after-hours activities in schools? The instruction to prevent the centres from being used as polling stations was not carried out even though the heads of the Mossos d'Esquadra said they were going to comply with this instruction: the ruling of TSJC judge Armas provided the Mossos with an excuse for not complying.

Is he aware that police and Civil Guards are under investigation by the Provincial High Court of Barcelona (Audiencia Provincial) for excessive use of force on October 1? The police and Civil Guard acted in an exemplary fashion and to date no officer has been found guilty of any charge.

Did he consider the police operation on October 1 a success, even though the percentage of polling stations closed was very low (around 5% of the total)? Each operation should have been brief, but there were walls of people hindering the action of the police which meant the time to complete the task was much more than planned. But the intervention was effective.

At how many polling stations did force have to be used? Millo says about 30, twice the figure of around 15 given in an interview with NacioDigital in August 2018 which he admits was incorrect.

Was the number of police and Civil Guard sufficient to stop the referendum? Yes, if there had not been human walls blocking the entrances to the polling stations.

How many police officers would have been needed to close down the 2350 voting centres? It was not my job to do that analysis.

Was the instruction of the Secretary of State for Security, for the Spanish police forces to withdraw if confronted with large numbers of people and hence the risk of injuries, carried out? Yes.

Did either the National Police or the Civil Guard denounce to the Prosecutor-General's Office that the activities in the schools in the days before the referendum were fraudulent? No.

Did the ruling of TSJC judge Mercedes Armas of September 27, preventing the closure of schools and other centres marked down as polling stations before October 1, make the work of stopping the referendum more difficult? Yes, but it wouldn't have stopped the implementation of the instruction to prevent the referendum.

How many arrests were made on September 20, in a climate of "violence" and "riot"? None, but as to why the Mossos, in charge of security, would have to answer.

Were the minutes of the September 28 meeting of the Security Committee accurate? Everything that the minutes record took place, but things happened that the minutes don't register (including Trapero's alleged statement that he would not use force to carry out the court injunction to stop October 1 if children and elderly people were present in the polling stations).

Did you know that on October 27 [day of the DUI] Trapero got in contact with the TSJC and the Prosecutor-General's Office of Catalonia, placing himself at their disposition? I'm not aware of that.

After the DUI of October 27, did the supposed heads of this new state communicate the fact of its independence to you? No.

Cross-examination of Millo by Andreu Van den Eynde, defence counsel for Oriol Junqueras and Raül Romeva

Did you meet with citizens who had been wounded on October 1? No, only four were taken to hospital.

Did you talk to mayors before October 1? I got concerned calls from mayors, saying that they were being pressured to make municipal premises available for the illegal referendum.

How many dead and injured were there on September 20. None, that I'm aware of.

Do you remember an interview in which you compared the democratic majority who came out on September 20, contrasting them to a violent minority (responsible for trashing the Civil Guard vehicles)? Yes, but the one feature (people peacefully using their right to demonstrate) does not exclude the other (illegal violence).

Other questions from defence counsel

Given the climate of violence and intimidation you describe, did you ask the Spanish government to declare a state of emergency? No. The presence of the htree police forces was sufficient to control the situation.

Did you consider asking Mr Rajoy to declare a "situation of concern" under the National Security Law? No

Did you ask the Constitutional Court to suspend from their positions in government those who were not complying with its orders? No.

Is there any written report covering the period September 10 to October 1 about the violence you have said took place? No.

How come that the CDRs called for people to demonstrate on September 20 when they didn't yet exist? Well it would have been the work of the associations [ANC and Òmnium] that were later to have a relation with the CDRs.

Who told you that there were violent people in the CDRs? I can't give you a concrete name: over the period many people in positions of command told me this.

Do you have any evidence of people with weapons being present in the polling stations on October 1? No, but I repeat that the wounds I saw on various police could not have been inflicted by bare hands alone.


Testimony of Neus Munté

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Neus Munté, former Catalan minister of state, giving evidence
Neus Munté, former Catalan minister of state, giving evidence

Replying to the questions of the counsel for the Prosecutor-General's Office, Munté says that:

  • She resigned as a minister of the Puigdemont government on July 14, 2017, for reasons of work overload and depression following on the death of her father.

  • She had no political differences with the government, which was pressing for a negotiated referendum, a position she continues to support.

  • She had received five orders from the Constitutional Court, and the thought that she might incur the kind of unjust punishment suffered by former president Artur Mass and three of his ministers for allowing the November 9, 2014 "participatory process" also weighed on her mind. She was also affected by the July 4 resignation of business minister Jordi Baiget.

  • She does not recall various meetings noted in the diary of Josep Maria Jové, requisitioned by the Civil Guard on September 20, 2017 in one of its raids on various government and private buildings. She was not in any meeting in 2016 in which whom the Mossos might obey in case of a conflict with the State was discussed. As Catalan government spokesperson she always replied to media questioning that the Mossos had to carry out their legal functions.

  • The concern of the government at the time was winning support from a majority of the parliament for its budget.

Replying to the questions of the counsel for the Solicitor-General's Office, Munté says that:

  • There was no discussion in government meetings of this time about having a unilateral referendum.

  • Carme Forcadell attended only one meeting, dedicated to the question of the government winning a vote of confidence.

Replying to the questions of the counsel for the people's prosecutor (Vox), Munté says that:

  • She took part in the September 20 demonstration outside the Department of Economy.

  • She voted without problem in the October 1 referendum.

Replying to questions from defence counsel, Munté says that:

  • The only referendum at which the government was working when she stepped down was a negotiated one.

  • She did not contemplate that the Rajoy government would apply article 155 (Rajoy himself had said it was not under consideration).

  • She was present at the June 19, 2017 meeting between Puigdemont and Urkullu at which the Basque premier was asked to help mediate in the conflict with the Rajoy government.

  • The protest of September 20 was peaceful.

  • Neither Sànchez or Cuixart ever deviated from an approach of peaceful, non-violent protest.

  • Joaquim Forn did not belong to a more radical political current than his predecessor Jordi Jané.


Testimony of Juan Antonio Puigserver

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 Juan Antonio Puigserver, General Secretary (Technical) of the Spanish Ministry for the Interior, testifying
Juan Antonio Puigserver, General Secretary (Technical) of the Spanish Ministry for the Interior, testifying

Replying to the questions of the counsel for the Prosecutor-General's Office, Puigserver says that:

  • The only point on the agenda of the September 28 meeting of the Security Committee of Catalonia, called by Puigdemont, was the coordination of police forces on October 1.

  • Colonel Pérez de los Cobos, appointed by the Rajoy government to coordinate the operation of the three police forces, said that the principle of maintaining social harmony could not be an excuse for not carrying out the key instruction in the court order, namely to stop the referendum from taking place by confiscating all referendum-related material.

  • Josep Lluís Trapero, head of the Mossos, said that the court order had to be implemented, but preserving social harmony, with a resort to violence only in the case of a threat to the forces of security themselves or to citizens.

  • Pérez de los Cobos insisted on the need for a proportionate use of force if this was needed to implement the court order.

  • Trapero replied that force would not be used if children or the elderly would be put at risk by.

  • Enric Millo, Spanish government representative in Catalonia, and Pérez de los Cobos called on the Catalan government to call off the referendum. The response of the Catalan representatives was to neither agree nor disagree.

  • We didn't ask how the Mossos would behave on October 1.

  • Minister Forn said that the Civil Guard and Spanish National Police would have to act at the request of the Mossos.

  • No clarification of the role of the Mossos on October 1 took place at the meeting.

  • 12,000 Mossos were deployed on December 21 (day of the Catalan elections called by the Spanish government), with the support of local council police. On October 1, about 8000 Mossos were deployed.

Replying to the questions of the counsel for the Solicitor-General's Office, Puigserver says that:

  • The court order of September 27 prohibited the use of public buildings and facilities for any activity related to the referendum.

Replying to questions from defence counsel, Puigserver says that:

  • At no time during the September 28 meeting of the Security Committee did the Catalan representatives say that they would not comply with the court order, but it became clear that they were prepared to put the maintenance of social harmony above the action needed to stop the referendum.

  • Interior minister Forn intervened to support the position of Trapero on the use of force.

  • After Puigserver assumed control of the Catalan interior ministry under article 155 [and after the destitution of Trapero and the Pere Soler, head of the police department], the behaviour of the heads of the Mossos was "professional and loyal".


Testimony of Diego Pérez de los Cobos

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Civil Guard colonel Diego Pérez de los Cobos, coordinator of the police intervention on October 1, testifies
Civil Guard colonel Diego Pérez de los Cobos, coordinator of the police intervention on October 1, testifies

Replying to the questions of the counsel for the Prosecutor-General's Office, Pérez de los Cobos says that:

(Regarding the period up to October 1)

  • At a September 21 meeting in the office of  José María Romero de Tejada, the Prosecutor-General for Catalonia, Romero de Tejada indicated to representatives of the National Police Corps (CNP) Guard and Mossos d'Esquadra that he had appointed Pérez de los Cobos coordinator of the combined police effort to stop the referendum, Trapero indicated his disagreement and asked for the appointment in writing. Romero de Tejada then issued an order (4/2017) which specified that, while he was in charge of the action to stop the referendum, Pérez de los Cobos would coordinate the three police forces involved.

  • At a September 23 meeting of the same representatives, Romero de Tejada indicated his disagreement with Trapero's plan for October 1, saying that it seemed more a plan for a normal election day than one directed at stopping the illegal referendum. Pérez de los Cobos agreed. Trapero said that he didn't accept that Pérez de los Cobos had authority over the conduct of the Mossos but agreed to present an amended plan of action for October 1. Pérez de los Cobos also referred to a September 22 letter from Catalan interior minister Forn to his Spanish counterpart Zoido saying that the presence of Spanish forces in Catalonia for October 1 would not be necessary.

  • On September 23, at a media conference Forn stated that the Spanish state, with the appointment of Pérez de los Cobos, was "trying to implement article 155 via the back door".

  • "The relationship with Mr Trapero was always difficult." He did not come to a September 25 meeting convened by Pérez de los Cobos, sending his number two Ferran López in this place.

  • On September 25, the Prosecutor-General for Catalonia issued an order (5/2017) instructing the Mossos to warn those responsible for locales designated as voting centres that they would incur a series of penal sanctions if they allowed them to be used for the execution of the referendum.

  • On September 26, the Prosecutor-General for Catalonia issued a further order (6/2017), stipulating that locales designated as polling stations were to be sealed off with a 100-metre no-go area.

  • On September 27, Trapero again called on the Prosecutor-General to revoke the appointment of Pérez de los Cobos.  Trapero also said that it would be very difficult to seal off so many polling stations.

  • He, Pérez de los Cobos, had been worried "for a long time" as to whether the Mossos would comply with orders issued by Spanish state institutions in the case of a unilateral referendum being staged in Catalonia.

  • The previous head of the Catalan police department, Albert Batlle, had resigned on July 17 because Forn as new interior minister had indicated that the Mossos would guarantee that October 1 took place in all normality.

  • The initial disposition of forces for stopping the referendum (discussed at a meeting on September 25) entrusted the closure of polling stations to the Mossos with the Civil Guard and CNP in a back-up role. Trapero objected that it would be impossible to close many polling stations, also because there was no list of polling stations  available from the Catalan government. The state police forces provided Trapero with this list.

  • On September 27,  judge Mercedes Armas of the Higher Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) issued a court order which, according to Pérez de los Cobos, did not overrule the previous orders of the Prosecutor-General, but supplanted him as the authority directing the operation to stop the referendum. It also distinguished between actions that could be carried out in the run-up to October 1 and on the day, allowing schools and other centres to be accessed as normal for after-hours activities.

  • The September 28 meeting of the Security Board of Catalonia was "Kafkiana".  Pérez de los Cobos: "My first surprise was to see Mr Trapero there, because he isn't part of the Security Committee." Puigdemont, basing himself on the court order of Armas, insisted that the action of police on the day could not interrupt normal social harmony, preservation of which which was the highest priority. Pérez de los Cobos intervened to say that the basic goal was stopping the referendum and what could be discussed were the best means for achieving it.

  • "Trapero made interventions that were along the same line as those who had convened this illegal referendum. [...] I said that if the Mossos acted in the way that these interventions seemed to indicate, if the goal of maintaining normal social harmony was going to become an excuse for inaction in implementing the legal order, well, in the light of that we would have to fulfil the obligation to act."

  • He told Puigdemont that the easiest way to preserve social harmony and abide by the court order was to call off the referendum.

  • The official minutes of the September 28 meeting were an accurate reflection of its content.

  • The TSJC order of September 27 said that the centres designated for voting could not be used for preparing the referendum, but it didn't say that the centres couldn't be closed.

  • The results of the visits of the Mossos d'Esquadra to locales denominated as voting centres, done under order 6/2017 of the Prosecutor-General's Office of Catalonia, was the opposite of that intended by the order. "What was communicated on the part of the teams of Mossos was that the celebration of the referendum is prohibited in this place and that the place would have to be evacuated by 6am on the morning of October 1 and that they would return at that time to achieve that result. Those responsible for the building would have to act so that a mass of citizens that might make the job of closure difficult not accumulate, given that in that case they [the Mossos] would have to act according to the criteria of mediation and restraint and that in no case would they make use of force." This was communicated to the pro-independence social organisations, who then acted accordingly, to the point of placing vulnerabe people in the front line of the polling centres. This was in line with what Trapero had told the September 28 Security Committee meeting would preclude the use of force.

(Regarding October 1)

  • Planning of the state security forces in regard to October 1 entertained two hypotheses: Scenario A, where the Mossos would act to stop the referendum and the state security forces would act in support, and Scenario B, where, if the lack of sufficient numbers, inadequacy of operation or ineffectiveness of the Mossos were confirmed, we would act on our own initiative. Scenario B was confirmed early in the morning of October 1 and he suspended four coordination meetings with the Mossos.

  • Mossos number two Ferran López sent an email early on October 1, asking for back-up at 233 polling stations, but this reinforced the perception of the Spanish security forces coordinating team that any coordination had effectively finished because action at many of the centres listed would be very complicated. The request was late and the list "excessively voluminous". After he  saw that there were only two Mossos per polling station and that none had been closed and that their presence was purely institutional it was decided to act independently of the Mossos.

  • The "second big surprise of the day [after the "inaction" of the Mossos] was the "degree of hostility" with which the Civil Guard and PNE units were met outside the polling stations "even though the action of our forces tried to be the most scrupulous and proportionate."

  • "There were perfectly organised groups within these human walls, with a hierarchy between themselves. [...] There were people wearing hoods and people warning of our impending arrival."

  • "On not a few occasions, given the high degree of hostility and aggressiveness, our units decided to abort the operation to avoid greater harm."

  • In no case was the action of the police units directed against voters, the elderly, children or disabled people.

  • There were no police charges but "an exquisite application of proportionality".

  • No order was ever issued to cease the operation.

  • Because of the rising hostility towards the police units during the day, the time taken to complete the operation of confiscating voting material grew progressively longer, reaching over an hour in some cases. Also, the number of voting centres where the chance of successful intervention was real declined during the day.

  • The procedure of the Mossos for calling for back-up in the case of being unable to confiscate the voting material, which was outlined in a September 29 circular to units, was "so long and confusing that our impression a posteriori was that it was designed so as not to comply with the court order".

  • I heard afterwards that the regional command centres of the Mossos informed local units of the location of units of the State security forces. [...] The chiefs of the Civil Guard and the CNP informed that they had received reports of their units being surveyed by Mossos in camouflaged cars, including surveillance of the buildings where they were lodged. That these were vehicles of the Mossos was confirmed by number plate check. These activites showed that the system of intelligence set in motion by the Mossos d'Esquadra was directed more at allowing than preventing the illegal referendum. The patrols of the Mossos reached the point of directly informing polling stations of the approach of Spanish security forces.

  • We heard of instances where, in the presence of the pair of Mossos assigned to close a polling station, stations were closed to allow those present to have lunch, with the Mossos taking no action.

  • The Mossos sent us a report claiming to have closed 99 polling stations on the day, but 80% of these were very small, with only one or two tables, while the total vote registered in some, as reported by the Generalitat, was twice or three times the list of registered voters. In some cases the Mossos may have waited until everyone had voted before closing the cenre. Someone, maybe everybody, was lying.

  • In 10 or 11 cases the Mossos present tried to physically hinder the operation of our forces, producing delicate situations, which could only encourage those who were trying to prevent our execution of a court order.

  • In no case was I aware of Mossos confiscating election material. In some cases Mossos supported the ballot boxes while people were voting.

  • The report that Mr Trapero sent me on October 10 for incorporation in an overall report on October 1 solicited by judge Mercedes Armas differed considerably from the report he sent her directly.

  • The 6000 police officers sent to Catalonia would have been sufficient to largely block the referendum, had they had the support of the Mossos.

Replying to the questions of the counsel for the Solicitor-General's Office, Pérez de los Cobos says that:

  • From the Spanish Ministry for the Interior's Secretariat for Security he started following the Catalan situation from early 2017, with a view to the need for legal intervention.

  • Aggression and hostility towards the Spanish security forces started after the first searches by the Civil Guard (September 9), intensified with the searches of September 20 and extended to homes of PNE officers and to Civil Guard barracks.

  • The 6000 officers sent to Catalonia after September 8 were composed of PNE and Civil Guard riot squad reservists.

  • Our suspicion that the Mossos would not act to stop the referendum was growing before September 28 (meeting of the Security Committee), intensified after that and was finally confirmed early on October 1.

  • Mercedes Armas, with whom Pérez de los Cobos spoke on October 1, at no time said that the actions being carried out by the Spanish forces of security violated her September 27 court order.

Replying to the questions of the counsel for the people's prosecution (Vox), Pérez de los Cobos says that:

  • He had no knowledge of any communication between the Mossos and those occupying the polling centres before October 1.

  • The reports of the CNP, Civil Guard and Mossos did not coincide on the number and type of incidents that took place on October 1.

  • The number of injuries on the side of the Spanish security forces was around 90.

  • Some individuals who warned those occupying polling stations that Spanish security forces were about to arrive were later identified as Mossos.

  • On October 1, there was a convergence of agreed action between the Catalan government, the Mossos and the organisations who were mobilising people to defend, occupy and staff the voting centres.

Cross-examination of Pérez de los Cobos by Xavier Melero, defence counsel for Joaquim Forn, former Catalan interior minister:

Did the attitude of Mr Trapero in the series of meetings that began on September 21 only concern the supposed invasion of the competencies of the Mossos? In my opinion, it indicated disagreement over whether the court orders aimed at stopping the referendum should be implemented.

The presence of Mossos number two Ferran López in coordination meetings after September 25 [and not Trapero] was enough to maintain coordination among the three police forces? Yes, he was very interested in maintaining coordination.

Were the four provincial Monitoring Units [in Girona, Lleida, Tarragona and Barcelona] that were set up between the three forces maintained throughout the whole period leading up to October 1 maintained  (despite Pérez de los Cobos calling off the four meetings of the overall coordinating committee set for October 1)? Yes.

The plan for October 1 presented by the Mossos contained detailed numbers, but those for the CNP and Civil Guard were just generic, isn't that so? Not exactly. The two Spate police forces were composed of reserve units that had to be incorporated and organised, so it took more time to develop detailed plans of action.

Did you or the Prosecutor-General make any suggestion to Trapero as to how the Mossos' plan of action for October 1 could be improved? I didn't and he wouldn't have accepted it if I had.

Did the Mossos fail to carry out the instructions contained in Order 5/2017 of the Prosecutor-General (warning of the consequence of centres being used for an illegal referendum)? [Did not answer, but discussed order 6/2017, ordering no-go areas around schools etc.]

Was any figure produced for how many police officers would be needed to implement Order 6/2017? The order was directed at the Mossos d'Esquadra--they would have to answer. We did various studies of officer needs based on two key variables--the degree of compliance of the Mossos with orders and the degree of aggressiveness of those defending voting centres. This gave a wide range of numbers needed.

Were you aware that the September 27 court order of the TSJC suspended the orders of the Prosecutor-General? No, it did not.  It ended the actions of the Prosecutor-General. "Nowhere does it say that the orders of the Prosecutor-General are no longer in force."

Did Joaquim Forn have any role in the nomination of Mr Trapero? I don't know.

Could the places designated for voting have been closed under the court order of the TSJC? Looked at in isolation, the activities in the schools etc on the night before the referendum had nothing to do with the referendum, but in perspective they were aimed at making the referendum possible.

Did the CNP and the Civil Guard try to close down any centres in the days before the referendum? No, firstly because it was the Mossos who had been ordered by the Prosecutor-General in Orders 5/2017 and 6/2017 to warn the directors of centres of the consequences of facilitating the referendum. Secondly, because we were aware of the need not to give rise to even more tension than that which already existed. Also because, if we had in the last analysis to act in substitution of the Mossos it would be better not to have increased tension even further beforehand.

Did reports from the CNP and the Civil Guard point to any deficiency in the work of the Mossos in the days preceding the referendum? No.

On the afternoon of September 30 you had a meeting with [Mossos] Commissioner Ferran López and at 2300 you said your farewells [without Pérez de los Cobos communicating any final loss of confidence in the Mossos]. At what time in the morning of October 1 did this final loss of confidence [which led Pérez de los Cobos to call off four scheduled coordinating meetings with the Mossos] take place? What was the triggering factor? The triggering factor were the reports that there were only two Mossos to every voting centre, that they were doing nothing and that the illegal referendum was taking pace in absolute normality, to the point that the plan that Mr Trapero had promised to amend probably hadn't been amended at all. This was confirmed when the report on October 1 that was sent to me by the Mossos contained an annex with the plan followed on the day. It was exactly the same, including the original date.

When did you get confirmation that this unamended guidelines were being followed?  Officially, on October 9 ... Nobody alerted you beforehand? On September 30, there were odd messages on the social networks referring to a possible attitude of the Mossos.

How could you coordinate anything if you didn't have those guidelines?   I've already said, the work of coordination didn't imply any ability to issue any order or instruction.

Didn't you think to get them via a request to the Prosecutor-General or the TSJC? No, and if I had I'm sure they wouldn't have given them to me.

But Commissioner Ferran López said publicy that he gave you the guidelines on September 29. Isn't that true?  No.

How many voting centres were closed down by the action of the CNP and the Civil Guard? Directly, as a result of their action, 113, and a couple of hundred including those that closed when they saw the possibility of intervention by the forces of security.

Of these 113, in how many did force have to be used? The great majority, around 100.

And the figure of the delegate of the [Spanish] Government, around 30, you don't recognise that? No.

Does the low number of arrests on the day, given the context of violence, not surprise you? In a situation where the level of aggression is much higher than anticipated, it is usual for there to be a low number of arrests, also because practicing arrests in this sort of situation increases tension.

[Cross-examination continues on March 6--see above]


March 4 | Day 10: Testimony of José Antonio Nieto, Roger Torrent, José Maria Espejo-Saavedra, David Pérez, Antoni Bayona and Xavier Muro (Catalan public media coverage in English here and here)

 


For an English-language summary of Day 10 go to:


Testimony of José Antonio Nieto

José Antonio Nieto.jpg

José Antonio Nieto, former Secretary of State for Security under former interior minister Juan Ignacio Zoido, giving evidence
José Antonio Nieto, former Secretary of State for Security under former interior minister Juan Ignacio Zoido, testifies

Replying to the questions of the counsel for the Prosecutor-General's Office, Nieto says that:

(Regarding the period up to October)

  • He made the decision to send 6000 extra police and Civil Guard agents to Catalonia to help stop the October 1 referendum.

  • Interior minister Zoido was informed of the organisation of the intervention.

  • The court injuction covering the referendum made it clear that its celebration had to be avoided.

  • "The Catalan government's perception of reality was very different from ours: after we saw how police vehicles had been attacked and the police search party prevented for leaving [the Catalan Department of Economy, on September 20] we became particularly concerned."

  • "During the day [September 20] I was told that the Civil Guard had asked for support from the Mossos d'Esquadra but had received contradictory replies. The support wasn't arriving, it wasn't being provided and things got increasingly heated. [...] The Mossos [were] critical of the operation because they weren't informed. The Civil Guard said, logically, that they couldn't be informed."

  • "Every time the Civil Guard carried out an operation, there were incidents."

  • "The CDRs [Committees for the Defence of the Referendum] had a solid structure protected by other organisations. [...] They carried out a very important job of coordination."

  • "Initially, they [the CDRs] had an organisational function, but in my opinion they drifted more and more towards a violent outlook or to one that favoured violence."

  • "ANC and Òmnium were there in all the demonstrations."

  • The designation by the Spanish interior ministry of a coordinator [Pérez de los Cobos] generated disagreement with the Mossos about which Trapero presented a formal complaint. "The leadership of the Mossos was very reluctant to form part of the coordination of the operation to stop the referendum" [...] "Trapero took part in the first meetings with an uncollaborative attitude" and after September 24 "didn't take part but sent other commissioners."

  • "Agreements between the [Catalan] Ministry for the Interior and the State Secretariat for Security came to an end.. There was a period of time when  meetings did not take place."

  • "There was no reason for us to receive the court injunction [of Barcelona judge Mercedes Armas]. We had an order. It was necessary to ensure compliance with the law."

  • "We were at a negotiating table [at the meeting of the Spain-Catalonia Security Board on September 28] talking about the police presence needed on October 1 with those who had called it. It was complicated. We were told nothing to do with what the operational plan was, but lots of excuses justifying doing nothing." [...] They told us there were people who would understand that the law was what Parliament had approved and not the later decisions of the Constitutional Court or the Prosectuor-General's Office."

  • "We defended the need to comply by the law. And we had the sensation that from the Generalitat they they didn't want to do that."

  • All of us representatives of the Spanish government insisted that October 1 be called off. If it was a question of demonstrating the strength of the independence movement, let them do that  and it wouldn't have been stopped, but what we could not accept was carrying out an action that had been expressly prohibited."

  • "There wasn't the slightest gesture of concession or of openness to a real dialogue. Part of such a concession would have been to accept a simulation of the referendum in places not covered by the injunction of the magistrate. This was communicated, but there was no sign of interest and we saw that there was absolute commitment to supporting and celebrating October 1."

  • "I said to Mr Trapero: 'Imagine that the Mossos were surrounded by a crowd, would you see the use of force as necessary?' He replied that if there were old people and children present, no. We saw then that this would be the excuse."

  • "After the Security Board meeting, confidence in the performance of the Mossos was at a low. But we were still expecting compliance from the leadership of the force: that it would never turn its back on a court order .[...] We understood that Trapero was totally in line with the government of the Generalitat, but we hoping for something different from other members of the command."

  • "I am unsure as to whether the Mossos closed any electoral college or recovered any election material before October 1."

(Regarding police and Civil Guard action on the day of October 1)

  • "The primary objective that had to be fulfilled was avoiding the celebration of October 1. The second point was to do it by deploying the resources needed and adequate force, while guaranteeing the rights of the citizens and social harmony.

  • "If we had prioritised operational effectiveness over every other objective, the professionals who were carrying out the task had the resources and legal coverage to achieve the goal, but at the cost of a greater use of force. That's why the maintenace of security was prioritised over effectiveness. [...] It was set out that the use of force would be the minimum necessary. And it was the minimum necessary."

  • The action on the day was overseen by a coordination unit established in the Spanish government building in Barcelona, headed by Nieto and Spanish government representative Enric Millo.

  • "At 0730 we confirmed that all units were in place and we analysed the behaviour of the Mossos. Up until that time we were unsure if any closure of a polling station had taken place. From 1100 hours we advised that the operation would continue, but we also advised that we would act alone, without the Mossos. We had seen Mossos in pairs but not the Riot Squad." [...] The [new] instruction was based on the assessemnt that the Mossos were "insufficient, ineffective or inoperative". [...] All three conditions materialised."

  • "We received a request for support on the part of the Mossos in more than 200 polling stations, in many of which we were able to act. It surprised us that there were no representatives of the Mossos there and we gathered that if they had been asking for help it was because there were not enough of them."

  • "There were people concentrated at the doors of the polling stations who, besides going to vote, had as a goal stopping the police and the Civil Guard from being able to do their job, which was to enter, identify the members of the voting tables and withdraw material of an electoral character."

  • "There were attacks on police officers and the Civil Guard."

  • "There was no police charge that could be technically described as such. What there was was use of force and in some places in an attention-grabbing way, but only so as to carry out an orderly withdrawal of the officers."

  • [On injuries on the day] "We received information that four persons had required specific attention: one had suffered a heart attack, another had suffered the impact of a rubber bullet and two more with fractures to extremities. We did not receive detailed information from the Generalitat."

  • The Spanish police forces closed between 103 and 114 polling stations.

  • The police actions finished at between 1700 and 1800 hours. There were no orders to stop police action earlier.

  • "There was a greater level of resistance that we had anticipated by the people who were in the polling stations. Would that it had been peaceful resistance. What we suffered was very intense, reaching situations of violence."

  • "Given the mandate that we established  between 100% effectiveness and proportionality in the use of force, those responsible for operations understood that it was better to withdraw, either because the safety of the officers or the physical integrity of the persons who were trying to stop the closure [of the polling station] was at risk."

(Regarding the general strike and civil protest of October 3)

  • "On October 3, there were notable acts of violence in various parts of Catalonia." The action of the Mossos was to let "allow the demonstrators to achieve their objective". The Mossos were responsible for the "collapse of Catalonia" on that day.

Replying to the questions of the counsel for the Solicitor-General's Office, Nieto says that:

  • The decision to send riot squads and not ordinary police to Catalonia was because they anticipated a clash with part of the population.

  • "The Catalan government was telling us that [trying to stop the referendum] could affect social harmony, but on the other hand that the Mossos had the capacity to implement the court order. Following the logic of the argument was complex."

  • "We never found out how many officers the Mossos d'Esquadra contributed. There was a coordination meeting with Trapero at which he presented a draft of which both the chief prosecutor of the High Court of Justice of Catalonia and Colonel Pérez de los Cobos said the contribution was clearly insufficient. He disagreed, but undertook to rework the draft. That was never presented. But what happened on October 1 was very like what was in the draft."

Replying to the questions of the people's prosecutor, Vox, Nieto says that:

  • There was no precise moment when the Spanish police forces ceased their collaboration with the Mossos.

  • "The behaviour of the police and Civil Guard was in line with court instructions."

  • "If the Mossos had publicly indicated that they would comply with court instructions, the referendum would have been called off."

  • A shipments of arms ordered from Germany by the Mossos was "high compared to what is usual" and was only completed once the quantity had been reduced.

Cross-examination of Nieto by Xavier Melero, defence counsel for Joaquim Forn, former Catalan interior minister:

Melero, shows final plan for deployment of Mossos on October 1, and points out that here was an increase in officers after the prosecutor asked Trapero to reformulate the plan. Nieto says he has not seen the document but "it's certain" that the coordinator of the police operation knew there was an increase in forces available.

Did anyone in the September 28 Security Boad meeting make a formal objection to Trapero's plan and offer any technical recommendation? I don't know.

Would 90,000 police have been needed to stop the referendum [as Nieto told VozPopuli on October 1, 2018]? "The question was whether any sort of image related to a referendum could have been avoided, not if a referendum could have been avoided. With 6000 police it was managed that what happened on October 1 was not a referendum."

On the greater number of polling stations closed by the Mossos compared to the Spanish police forces: "Would that the performance of the Mossos, without any sort of effort, had succeeded in closing that number of polling stations. If that was the case, why didn't they continue closing the rest?"

Melero shows the court injunction covering police operations on October 1, pointing out that it does not order the sealing off of grounds around schools and other polling stations. Nieto: "You're right."

Why did the Spanish police forces attend only 12 of the 112 requests for support that they received from the Mossos? "The interventions were being carried out in extraordinary circumstances. The requests that could be met were met."

Why were there no arrests at the September 20 demonstration that you describe as "riotous"? "Because there would have been a problem of responsibility, because responsibility for public order belongs to the Mossos. We would also have definitely had a problem of secuity for the demonstartors and the police officers. The non-presence of the Mossos had permitted a sensation that there were no limits, which led to the complete destruction of the Civil Guard vehicles."

Cross-examination of Nieto by Andreu Van den Eynde, defence counsel for Raül Romeva and Oriol Junqueras:

Why did the minutes of the September 28 Security  Board meeting not mention the risk of violence? Nieto says that if he had written the minutes, they would have.

Why didn't the Spanish police forces observe the court injunction to preserve social harmony on October 1? "Social harmony was put above effectiveness."

How many voted on October 1, despite the operation to prevent the referendum? "I don't believe two million voted on October 1. No-one can verify that, which was the objective. It didn't worry me whether two million, a million or three million went to vote [...] It was all the same if the job [of interrupting the voting] was done well."

Cross-examination of Nieto by Jordi Pina, defence counsel for Jordi Sànchez, Josep Rull and Jordi Turull

What knowledge did Nieto have of the circumstances surrounding the refusal of a berth in the port town of Palamós to the ship carrying the Civil Guards and police [see evidence of Joseph Rull here]? He denies having had direct knowledge.

Was there any investigation as to why large-calibre weapons were left in the Civil Gaurd vehicles on September 20? Nieto is not certain.

Was any police agent hospitalised, treated by ambulance staff or given leave from work after October 1, even though Nieto claims some suffered "serious bruising"? None.

Was there any order on the part of any legal or other authority to stop the police charges in the afternoon of October 1? None.

Nieto defends the presence of police surrounding the CUP headquarters on September 20 as backed by a court order.


Testimony of Roger Torrent

Roger Torrent.jpg

Roger Torrent, speaker of the Catalan parliament, testifies
Roger Torrent, speaker of the Catalan parliament, testifies

Replying to the questions of the counsel for the people's prosecution (Vox), Torrent says that:

  • The fact that the majority of the accused are MPs in the Catalan parliament implies a "serious distortion in the work of the chamber".

  • A speaker "can never limit or censure the proposals of the parliamentary groups.

  • The reason why the opinions of parliamentary legal counsel are not binding on the speakership panel goes to the nature of the panel--"it is a political organ, not a organ of censureship".

  • "We shall never abandon the will of the majority of the people of Catalonia, to decide our own future. We voted on October 1 and we shall vote again."

Replying to the questions of the counsel for the Prosecutor-General's Office, Torrent says that:

  • If the President of the Generalitat asks to appear before parliament, this cannot be denied by the Speakership panel.

  • An act was held on October 10 [date of declaration and suspension of independence] but not in the chamber.

Replying to the questions of the counsel for the Solicitor-General's Office, Torrent says that:

  • The law of transitionality had as its objective the search for a political solution to the conflict and opening a process of negotiation and dialogue with the state, but it never had legal effect.

  • "Thousands of people should be sitting in the dock today, because thousands of us took part in the events that are today being judged."

Presiding judge Marchena rules defence counsel Andreu Van den Ende out of order because he is formulating questions to Torrent that "do not meet the test of relevance" in asking about the sentiments Torrent felt on October 1.


Testimony of José María Espejo-Saavedra

jose-maria-espejo-saavedra.jpg

José María Espejo-Saavedra (Citizens), deputy president of the Catalan parliament's speakership board, giving evidence
José María Espejo-Saavedra (Citizens), deputy president of the Catalan parliament's speakership board, giving evidence

Espejo-Saavedra makes the following points:

  • "My warning when the budget bill was adopted, including an outlay for the referendum, was listened to but no heed was paid to it."

  • "The plenary of September 6 already had an agenda, but a bill was introduced onto the agenda in an irregulry way, in my opinion. [...] The independence forces wanted to approve all the legislation that would issue in the holding of the referendum."

  • "The procedure of adoption in a single reading was appealed to the Constitutional Court and suspended. That's why the change in the agenda [on September 6] was introduced in a way that was a bit surprising."

  • "No-one criticises the single reading process, only the objective for which it was to be used."


Testimony of David Pérez

David Pérez.jpg

David Pérez (PSC), second secretary of the Catalan parliament's speakership panel, testifies
David Pérez (PSC), second secretary of the Catalan parliament's speakership panel, testifies

Pérez makes the following points:

  • "We are obliged to remove from the order of business all proposals that contradict constitutional legality."

  • Pérez says he asked for the legal opinion of the parliament's counsel on five occasions and this was refused by the majority of the speakership board.

  • "On the day of the referendum law we asked for a report from the Council of Statutory Guarantees [Catalan advisory legal body charged with ensuring that legislation conforms to the Spanish Constitution and the Catalan Statute of Autonomy] and the majority of the speakership panel thought it was unnecessary."

  • "We voted against Puigdemont's appearing before parliament [on October 10] because it was obvious he was going to explain the results of the referendum."


Testimony of Antoni Bayona

Antoni Bayona.jpg

Antoni Bayona, former chief counsel of the Catalan parliament, giving evidence
Antoni Bayona, former chief counsel of the Catalan parliament, giving evidence

Antoni Bayona, former chief counsel of the Catalan parliament, makes the following points:

  • When the Constitutional Court began to issue writs of execution the parliament's legal service began to advise the speakership panel to freeze proposals subject to the writs;

  • On September 6,the legal service advised the speakership panel of the possible legal penalties its members could incur.

  • Reports from the legal services are solicited by the speaker, but in the present case he submitted a report unsolicited because of the exceptional situation.

  • The admission of a bill for discussion by parliament in no way determines its content.


Testimony of Xavier Muro

Xavier-Muro-Pere-Parlament-Catalunya_1662443877_34417177_1500x1000.jpg

Xavier Muro, the Catalan parliament's secretary-general [Clerk of the House], who asked not to be photographed while giving evidence
Xavier Muro, the Catalan parliament's secretary-general [Clerk of the House], who asked not to be photographed while giving evidence

Xavier Muro, general secretary of the Catalan parliament [Clerk of the House], makes the following points:

  • He advised the speakership panel of the penalties they might incur if they allowed the referendum and transitionality bills to come before the chamber.

  • He admits that in 2011 the panel allowed a proposal to declare Catalonia independent to be discussed in parliament without incurring any Constitutional Court sanction.

  • He explains that after the application of article 155, speaker Carme Forcadell continued her work as per normal.

  • He explains that when Puigdemont came before the parliament on October 10, no resolution was adopted.


Week ending March 3


March 3 | Court not sitting



See the comments, subtitled in English, of Barcelona FC defender Gerard Piqué after Saturday's Barcelona-Madrid match, here.


March 2 | Court not sitting


Comment: Javier Pérez Royo (Ara)

As a legal charge against the Catalan political leaders, rebellion can no longer be considered at all

Following Tuesday's testimony from Jordi Cuixart, President of Òmnium Cultural, and Carme Forcadell, former president of the Catalan Parliament, the second act of the trial against the Catalan political leaders that began two weeks ago came to a close. The first act ended when the court responded to the preliminary questions raised during the interventions of the defenses and plaintiffs. The second began with the testimony by Oriol Junqueras, former vice-president of the Catalan government, and ended with Carme Forcadell’s. The third part began with the cross-examination of the witnesses.

Contrary to what thas been reported by several news outlets, the first two acts are the most important from the perspective of the charge of rebellion. According to the definition of the crime of rebellion given in Spanish legislation, it is in these initial phases when it must be proven that the defendants' conduct can be legally classified as constituting this crime.

I do not mean to say that in these phases the commission of the crime must be proven, but instead simply the possibility that the conduct could be so classified legally. If the behavior cannot be characterized in this way, any subsequent evidentiary elements are irrelevant. They will be relevant for other possible criminal actions, but not for rebellion.

And this is so because the violence that constitutes the crime of rebellion must be present in the design of the operation, it must exist prior to the initial moment of the operation. The violence that constitutes rebellion cannot be an outgrowth; that is to say, the result of violent episodes not planned as such and that occur during an operation that did not include them in its design. If there are occasional episodes of violence, whether few or many, these may result in criminal charges of some sort or other, but never the crime of rebellion. This is precisely what will be the subject of the evidentiary activity that will unfold in the coming weeks.

But the adjective “violent”, which qualifies the noun “uprising” in the definition of rebellion, must be a part of the design of the rebel operation by the intellectual authors of said operation. Furthermore, it must be proven that the intellectual authors have carried it out. But if the actions of the defendants does not indicate any intellectual responsibility for the design of a “violent uprising”, it is not possible even to take rebellion into account as a legal classification of their behavior.

It was precisely this that prompted the High Court of Justice of Schleswig-Holstein, in Germany, to dismiss the arrest and delivery warrant issued by the Spanish examining magistrate [against the exiled Catalan leaders]. The facts —I repeat, the facts— that appeared in the narrative constructed by Judge Pablo Llarena did not match the legal definition of rebellion because the nature of the violence described in the judge’s account of events was not “concocted", but "unplanned", which can occur during the exercise of basic rights and public liberties, such as the right of assembly and demonstration or the right to strike. For this reason, the German court said, if the argument of the examining magistrate were taken as a given, the exercise of indispensable basic rights that are essential under any rule of law worthy of the name would be unfeasible.

And that is what the object of the first two acts of the trial was. And what has been clearly accredited is that there was no "violent uprising" masterminded by the defendants. It remains to be seen if there was any type of violence that occurred as part of the exercise of rights during the protests against the ban on the referendum or the search of the Catalan Ministry of Economy HQ. This is what will have to be seen from now on. But everything to come from now on will be completely irrelevant from the perspective of the crime of rebellion.

Translation: Ara


March 1 | Court not sitting


Comment: Vincenç Villatoro (Ara)

Òmnium or the ‘why’ of the Catalan independence movement

Òmnium was born to defend Catalan language and culture

In reference to Jordi Cuixart’s (1) courageous words during the trial against the Catalan pro-independence leaders, an acquaintance of mine told me that “Òmnium started off defending cultural Catalanism and now finds itself defending political independence. It’s ironic that it was more moderate during the Franco era than in a democracy”. The comment is a form of reproach to the leaders of Òmnium who —in his opinion— would have hijacked the grassroots organization politically.

My answer is that there is neither paradox nor hijacking. Òmnium has always stood in the same place. It was born to defend Catalan language and culture and, therefore, the necessary self-government for its vitality and for the welfare of Catalans. In the midst of Franco's dictatorship, many people thought that the necessary self-government would be achieved when the dictatorship fell and a different Spain arrived. But over the years, and after disappointments and setbacks, most Òmnium members have come to the conclusion that this level of indispensable self-government is neither there nor will it be because the different Spain where it would be possible is not the Spain that a majority of Spaniards want. Òmnium stands up for the same ideas as always: Catalan language and culture. But many of its members now believe that this cannot be achieved without independence. It is not that Cuixart has hijacked the members of Òmnium. On the contrary, he embodies what they think and what they want very well.

Translator's note:

(1) Jordi Cuixart has been the president of Òmnium Cultural since 2015. The grassroots group was founded in 1961, during Franco's dictatorship, with the aim of promoting Catalan language and culture. It currently has 143,000 members, as many as FC Barcelona.

Translation: Ara


February 28 | Day 9: Witness testimony of Iñigo Urkullu, Gabriel Rufián, Albano Dante Fachin, Ernest Benach, Ada Colau, Juan Ignacio Zoido and Xavier Domènech (Catalan public media coverage in English here, here and here)


News

  • The court imposes a €2500 fine on Antonio Baños and Eulalia Reguant for refusing to answer the questions of Vox. If they continue to refuse they face up to a year's jail


For an English-language summary of Day 9 go to:


Testimony of Iñigo Urkullu

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Iñigo Urkullu, president of the Basque Autonomous Community, gives evidence
Iñigo Urkullu, president of the Basque Autonomous Community, gives evidence

Urkullu outlines attempts at mediating between the Catalan and Spanish governments in 2017 [his detailed recall of these contrasts with Rajoy's "I can't remember--I met with so many people"]:

  • On June 19, he has a four-hour meeting with Puigdemont, who explains the situation of "deadlock" and asks Urkullu to help bring about a negotiated agreement between the two governments.

  • On July 19, he has a meeting with Rajoy, arranged through deputy prime minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaria. It lasts for two hours and is devoted exclusively to the Catalan issue. From then on he maintains constant contact with the two governments and "various figures from the social, political, institutional, cultural, economic and business sphere", with a view to avoiding a collision between an application of article 155 and a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI).

  • On September 21, the day after the Civil Guard search of the Catalan Department of Economy and the 40-60,000 strong protest against it, Urkullu rings Rajoy. "I told him that things couldn't go on the way they were evolving and made the comment that everything was going to pieces and that the next steps had to be measured very carefully so as not to produce a fracture in Catalan society. He replied to me saying that he would, as much as possible, stick to a necessary minimum and take the greatest possible care."

  • Between October 4 and 27, Urkullu has a lot of telephone communication with both sides of the conflict, to the point of suggesting four or five points for avoiding a showdown. Among these was the formation of a negotiating table made up of three members of each ministry with the goal of finding a solution that would avoid a UDI and an article 155 intervention. Urkullu comments: "I found Puigdemont absolutely receptive", but on October 26 Puigdemont tells him that he cannot dissolve parliament and call elections because of the pressure of the mass movement and of a part of his own party (JxSí).  Rajoy's attitude was "one of listening, attentive and of giving replies", but even though he found Rajoy reluctant to apply article 155, the Spanish president gave no guarantee that he would not apply it if Puigdemont called early elections in Catalonia.

Answering defence counsel, Urkullu adds:

  • That after September 20, in a situation of "tension", he rang Rajoy because he felt his was "not a pro-active attitude with a view to rescuing the situation".

  • That he had advanced the examples of Quebec and Scotland as the way forward, beginning with his June 19 conversation with Puigdemont, and that Puigdemont's suspension of the UDI on October 10 reflected agreement with this position.

Answering the popular prosecution Vox, Urkullu says that while there was public discussion about applying article 116 (state of emergency) and not article 155, Rajoy never raised this option with him.


Testimony of  Gabriel Rufián

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Gabriel Rufian, ERC MP in the Spanish Congress, giving evidence
Gabriel Rufian, ERC MP in the Spanish Congress, giving evidence

Rufián states that he will reply to the questins of Vox on the request of defence lawyer Andreu Van den Eynde, but that it seems to him a "disgrace that a racist and fascist party" should be present in the court.

Rufián gives testimonay as to the nature of the September 20 events outside the Department of Economy:

  • He asked as a public representative to be able to enter the building, but the Civil Guard refused him entrance.

  • "There were no episodes of violence on September 20".

  • It was a falsehood that the court search team left the building via the roof, departing via the building next door. "This is a piece of fake news [in English in original] like the one about Castilian [Spanish] being persecuted in Catalonia."


Testimony of  Albano Dante Fachin

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Albano Dante Fachin, former leader of Podemos in Catalonia, testifies
Albano Dante Fachin, former leader of Podemos in Catalonia, testifies

Fachin gives evidence as to the nature of the September 20 protest:

  • "It was not a demonstration in favour of independence but of democracy".

  • He was near the entrance to the building, and people entered and left it normally. "The only concern I noticed in the Civil Guard agents present was with my cigarette smoke".

  • "There were many journalists standing on the Civil Guard cars, so it was logical that they suffered damage."

On other points:

  • The Podemos membership in Catalonia had voted 61% in favour of urging participation in the October 1 referendum.

  • In the September 6 and 7 parliamentary session the parliamentary groups were able to present amendments, and his group (Catalonia Indeed We Can--CSQEP) presented an amendment to the entire resolution being proposed.


Testimony of  Ernest Benach

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Ernest Benach, former speaker of the Catalan Parliament, giving evidence
Ernest Benach, former speaker of the Catalan Parliament, giving evidence

Ernest Benach's evidence concerns the functioning of the Catalan parliament:

  • "The speakership panel has no power whatsoever to initiate legislation."

  • A single parliament group can initiate legislation.

  • The opinion of parliament's legal counsel are not binding.

  • The speakership panel has to guarantee the rights of the MPs.

  • The plenary of parliament can by vote change the order of business.

  • "If I had been in that situation I would have done as the speaker [Carme Forcadell] did."


Testimony of  Ada Colau

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Barcelona mayoress Ada Colau giving evidence
Barcelona mayoress Ada Colau giving evidence

Colau: "I'm prepared to respond to all questions out of respect for the court and the right to defence, but I want to make clear my deep discomfort at having to respond to an extreme right group that threatens basic rights."

On September 20:

  • "The situation was very worrying and there was a feeling of state of emergency [...] a sensation of social alarm". The National Police tried to enter the headquarters of the CUP without a search warrant."

  • "We institutional, union and social representatives made a call for peaceful protest because we thought our institutions were in danger."

  • "The behaviour of the people was peaceful and showed a sense of civic responsibility."

  • "On September 20 there wasn't only little damage to property, but less than at comparable demonstrations." [Barcelona Council has provided a detailed statement of damages on the day, amounting to €5300 for 80 protective barrier partitions.]

On October 1:

  • "I took part in the October 1 referendum in my double capacity as mayoress and citizen."

  • "Many of us were amazed by the sort of mobilisation we saw on October 1, because it wasn't the work of any institution or political party. It was millions of self-organised people."

  • "If the accused are here for October 1, so should millions of other people."

  • "We understood that the referendum had been suspended, but not our political rights."

  • "I rang [central government representative Enric Milló] and asked him to put an end to the police charges."

  • "Jordi Cuixart is a person very much loved in Barcelona. It breaks my heart to see him and the other prisoners here."


Testimony of Juan Ignacio Zoido

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Juan Ignacio Zoido, former Spanish Minister for the Interior, giving evidence
Juan Ignacio Zoido, former Spanish Minister for the Interior, giving evidence

Former Spanish interior minister Zoido responds to the questions of Xavier Melero, defence counsel for former Catalan interior minister  Joaquim Forn:

  • The response of the Spanish National Police and the Civil Guard on October 1 was "proportionate".

  • The 6000 extra police sent to Catalonia were "to help the Mossos d'Esquadra whenever they needed it and as court police".

  • The Spanish forces of order complied with the court order covering October 1 of "preserving peaceful social harmony".

  • The Secretary of State for Security, José Antonio Nieto, communicated to him on the morning of October 1 that the Mossos had not carried out their assigned functions on the previous day;

  • "He [Nieto] told me that,  in the face of an illegal referendum in which the Catalan government was calling people to participate, the number of Mossos assigned to duty on the day was entirely inadequate. [...] "What would have happened if this illegal referendum hadn't been called, built up and facilitated? If, instead of the 7000, there had been 12,000 Mossos, as for normal election day operations? Wouldn't it have been completely different?"

  • Zoido admits that he knew instructions for October 1 had changed when the magistrate of the High Court of Justice of Catalonia [Mercedes Armas] issued new provisions supplanting those issued by Prosecutor-General's Office of Catalonia, but he wasn't aware of "all the details". [Armas's instructions prevented the police and Civil Guard from sealing off voting centres in the days before the referendum.]

  • Zoido is unaware of who issued specific instructions to police on the day, saying operational matters were in the hands of Diego Pérez de los Cobos, appointed to coordinate operations among the various forces of order. "I neither elaborate nor assess security operations."

  • He was unaware that there were heavy weapons inside the Civil Guard vehicles on September 20.

  • "If I said that Civil Guard agents had to hide inside a building because people were attacking it, I must have been aware of it: I saw images or someone showed me a Civil Guard report."

Zoido responds to the questions of counsel for the Prosecutor-General's Office:

  • "We [he and Forn] had an institutional relationship that I believe was good": they did not, however, discuss the October 1 referendum.

  • "Starting from September 6 and 7, we began to consider that we would have to take decisions from the point of view of the law."

  • On September 20, 41 searches were conducted and the court police had a lot of trouble getting the job done.

  • "I was told that the Mossos would abide by lawful instructions and would look to stop the October 1 referendum."

  • "The court order were not obeyed: after all the organisation that had taken place and the authentic human shields that there were, the places couldn't be closed."

  • On the chief of the Mossos, Josep Lluís Trapero: "He wasn't at all collaborative; he didn't like being coordinated by Mr Pérez de los Cobos; he kept raising reservations."

  • "As the referendum approached, there were doubts as to whether the Mossos would carry out their functions. De los Cobos thought they would."

  • "The only way to guarantee that nothing would happen was to call off the referendum."

  • Zoido repeats: "If the Mossos had done their job, the situation would have been completely different."

  • Zoido says that the police and Civil Guard were subject to violent aggression in some centres.

In answer to the counsel for the Solicitor-General's Office, Zoido says:

  • "There were people who were being coordinated to hinder the work of the police. The blame [for violence] lies not with the police but with those who called for participation in a referendum that had been prohibited."

  • "Those who direct operations are people who have shown professional ability and experience. I only say that the law has to be followed and court orders complied with."

In answer to counsel for the popular prosecution, Vox, Zoido says:

  • "There was planning and coordination so as to hinder the work of the police."

  • "I was told that the Riot Squad of the Mossos was not to be seen."

  • "The action of the police was adjusted to fit in with what the legal authority demanded. Their performance was rational and proportionate and their use of force was reasonable, even with important injuries to the officers."

  • On the cries of "Go get 'em" which accompanied the police and Civil Guard to Catalonia and which some police chanted themselves: "I heard about it on the TV--I didn't approve of these experessions."

  • The police had to use rubber bullets to force their way out of polling stations. He did not know that tear gas was used in one polling station (Aiguaviva).

  • The universal electoral roll [allowing voters to vote at any polling station] had to be introduced because of the Civil Guard's success in closing down web sites.

  • He does not know what criteria were used to try to close down polling stations. Pérez de los Cobos and his team will be able to answer that.


Testimony of Xavier Domènech

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Xavier Domènech, former coordinator of Catalonia Together, testifies
Xavier Domènech, former coordinator of Catalonia Together, testifies

Xavier Domènech makes the following points:

  • "My wife and child were at the [September 20]  demonstration and it was in no way violent."

  • "The State had got into a warfare dynamic and it was logical for us to mobilise."

  • "It was the people of Catalonia who made October 1 so great: it was the biggest piece of self-organisation of recent times."


February 27 | Day 8: Witness testimony begins: Joan Tardà, Artur Mas, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaria, Mariano Rajoy, Cristóbal Montoro, Marta Pascal, Antonio Baños, Eulalia Reguant and Núria de Gispert (Catalan public media coverage in English here and here)

 


For an English-language summary of Day 8 go to:

Testimony of Joan Tardà

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Joan Tardà, Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) MP in the Spanish Congress: 'This trial has been inspired by the revenge of a state that feels humiliated by October 1'
Joan Tardà, Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) MP in the Spanish Congress: 'This trial has been inspired by the revenge of a state that feels humiliated by October 1'

Tardà says that he will reply to the questions of popular prosecution Vox in Catalan. Presiding judge Marchena insists that "as a witness you are obliged to use the official language of the court in which the trial is taking place."

Tardà: " This trial has been inspired by the revenge of a state that feels humiliated by October 1."

Marchena: "I ask you to comply with helping clarify the facts, but without offering appraisals."

Tardà reaffirms his support for the disobedience of October 1: "It represented the will of a defenceless, civic, peaceful and democratic people."

The representative of the Solicitor-General asks Tardà about the document 'Enfocats' (supposedly the secret road-map to Catalan independence, found by the Civil Guard during a search of the house of Department of Economy secretary Josep Maria Jové). Tardà corrects the counsel's pronunciation of Jové's name.

Tardà tells Andreu Van den Eynde, counsel for Raül Romeva and Oriol Junqueras, that at the September 20 demonstration outside the Department of Economy he said not to fall for any provocation [because] "I was afraid that there were infiltrators there."

Tardà recalls that after October 1, the PSOE criticised Sáenz de Santamaria for the violence of the police and Civil Guard, but changed their tune after the King Philip's October 3 speech.

On the adoption at a single reading by the Catalan parliament of the referendum law: "I've experienced parliamentary bills adopted in a single reading by the Congress--the reform of the Constitution, the organic laws governing the electoral system and the Constitutional Court."

On violence: "Neither the unity of Spain nor the independence of Catalonia is worth an atom of violence."


Testimony of Artur Mas

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Former Catalan premier Artur Mas testifying
Former Catalan premier Artur Mas testifying

On the idea of a referendum: "It was the government of the Generalitat that decided to call the referendum. [...] In the summer of 2016, after a lot of consultations President Puigdemont arrived at the conclusion that it would be good if there were a second consultation, a referendum. [...] It was neither in the election platform [of JxSí] nor in the program of the government. [...] The October 1 referendum was an attempt to count one more time how many people there were for and against independence."

On whether there was a mandate for a referendum: "If you look at the whole photo of the independence process, of course there was a mandate."

On a negotiated v. a unilateral referendum: "The preference was always for a negotiated referendum [...] The unilateral path was never discarded 100% in relation to October 1 so as not to lose negotiating position, but it was not the first, second nor third option. [...] We had the example of Scotland, and we thought we could find the ways through to an agreement."

On strategy: "I allowed myself the licence of reminding [Puigdemont] that if he opted for a referendum [...] he should never lose the capacity for institutional initiative in a legal framework that the Generalitat could control. [...] Never lose the capacity to call elections to the Catalan parliament."

On possible collaboration between Puigdemont, the ANC and Òmnium Cultural: Puigdemont never told Mas if he had consulted these organisations about the advisability of holding a referendum.

On the referendum law and the  Law of Transitionality [adopted on September 6 and 7, 2017]: "It was commonly expected that they would be suspended by the Constitutional Court but no-one felt that they shouldn't be voted on."

On legality: "The commitment to the whole thing having a legal basis was an genuine obsession; there was a desire never to get into a legal vacuum."

On the reaction expected from the Spanish government: "The experience of 9N [the November 9, 2014 "participatory process"] showed us the path the Spanish government and the State might take: accuse us of disobedience but nothing more."

On the leadership of the independence referendum process: "The meetings of the strategic committee of the process were informal. There was no agenda, different people attended and there were no minutes. Impossible to be more informal."

On prosecution allegations that the Catalan police were part of the referendum plan: "[Interior minister Joaquim Forn always insisted that the operations of the Mossos always had to be conducted on a strictly professional basis."

On the violence of October 1: "I thought the State wouldn't be so unintelligent as do something that would damage its reputation around the world. I was wrong."


Testimony of Soraya Sáenz de Santamaria

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Former Spanish deputy prime minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaria, testifying
Former Spanish deputy prime minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaria, testifying

In answer to questions from the popular prosecution Vox, Sáenz de Santamaria says that:

  • She always refused to talk about a referendum in her three meetings with her Catalan counterpart Oriol Junqueras.

  • She denounced the "social fracture" that was opening up in Catalonia because of the "process".

  • The Rajoy government wanted a greater presence of the State in Catalonia because "Catalonia is Spain".

  • Any unconstitutional action by Catalan authorities or institutions was appealed to the Constitutional Court.

  • The article 155 intervention was carried out to protect national sovereignty and the rule of law.

  • The decision to send 6000 extra police and Civil Guards to Catalonia was taken after the "violence" of September 20.

  • The Rajoy government applied article 155 and not article 116 (state of emergency) so as not to damage social harmony.

  • A referendum did not take place on October 1, because the Central Electoral Board later so ruled.

In answer to the counsel for the Prosecutor-General's Office, Sáenz de Santamaria says that:

  • The only way a referendum can take place in Catalonia is via reform of the Constitution. In the absence of such a reform, no democratically elected government can allow a referendum.

  • Rajoy had invited Puigdemont to defend his referendum proposal in the Spanish Congress, but he didn't accept because he didn't want Congress to vote on it.

  • "There were acts of volence every day before October 1 and up until October 27." Constitutionalist local councilors were subject to theats and pressure.

  • The Unilateral Declaration of Independence of October 27 was not "symbolic": that's why article 155 was applied.

  • "The National Police and the Civil Guard avoided an even more serious situation". Police violence is not pleasant but if there hadn't been a call to form human walls it wouldn't have happened.

  • She did not know of the detail of police operations on October 1 because of the separation of powers.

  • The "acts of violence" of September 20 were to prevent the search and stop the legal search group from leaving the building.

  • She received no calls asking her to stop the police charges on October 1.

  • That 93 police were injured on the day [this conflicts with the figure of over 431 given at the time by the interior minister Juan Ignacio Zoido].

In answer to defence counsel, Sáenz de Santamaria:

  • Says that he article 155 intervention in the Catalan interior ministry [removing the minister, head of department and chief of police] had to be more radical than in other departments, because of the collusion of the Catalan police in October 1;

  • Admits she was unaware of any resistance in the ministry after the intervention took place;

  • Concedes she was unaware of a Catalan police report warning of the possible consequences of any attempt to stop the referendum physically;

  • Concedes she was unaware of the instructions of the Spanish Secretary of State that called for the police forces to favour the maintenance of social harmony on October 1, and not seek to remove ballot boxes at any cost;

  • Admits she did not know why coordinating meetings between the Catalan and Spanish police bodies were called off in the days before October 1;

  • Says that the Spanish interior minister sent the extra police to Catalonia in response to a court order, when it was in fact a Rajoy government decision;

  • Fails to answer a question by defense lawyer Xavier Melero as to whether the Spanish police forces were sent to support or replace the Catalan police and has to be instructed to answer the question by judge Marchena;

  • Insists that "governments have to maintain response flexibility" [this in relation to a question by Romeva's and Junqueras's defence counsel Jordi Pina explaining that a ship for the police and Civil Guard was leased on September 19, one day before the "·violence" of September 20, which Sáenz de Santamaria said had provoked the decision to send 6000 more police to Catalonia];

  • Concedes that the Rajoy government did not recriminalise the holding of referendums, decriminalised by the preceding PSOE government;

  • Admits she cannot give any examples of violence committed by the independence movement before the referendum; and

  • Insists she did not receive any communication from UN human rights rapporteurs calling on Spain to respect human rights.


Testimony of Mariano Rajoy

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Former Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy testifying
Former Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy testifying

In response to the popular prosecution Vox, Rajoy says:

  • "There was never anything to talk about with regard to the referendum. From my first meeting with Artur Mas I made it clear that I would not breach the law and liquidate national sovereignty."

  • "It is the Spanish people who decide about Spain and not an autonomous community [state in Australian and the US, province in Canada]."

  • "There was no referendum."

  • "The relevant ministries made the decisions about police and Civil Guard deployment."

In response to counsel for the Prosecutor-General's Office, Rajoy says:

  • "There were many different opinions about how and when to apply article 155, enough for all tastes";

  • "When a declaration of independence is produced and the president of an autonomous community is asked to set things straight and he refuses, the decision can only be the one we took."

In reply to the counsel for the Solicitor-General's Office, Rajoy says that the differences between the November 9, 2014 "participatory process" and the October 1 referendum were what justified applying article 155.

In response to defence counsel, Rajoy:

  • Asserts that he had no meeting with any other witness before testifying;

  • Says that "you would have to be blind to say there was no abuse", when asked to produce examples of unionist local councilors suffering intimidation;

  • Denies accepting any mediation attempt from Basque president Iñigo Urkullu;

  • Says he cannot remember if the Catalan Agreement on the National Transition [basis for the 2015-2017 Catalan government] had been challenged in the Constitutional Court;

  • Says he did not order Enric Millo, the central government representative in Catalonia, to apologise to all those injured on October 1;

  • Says that he "can't remember" if there violent incidents between September 20 and October 1;

  • Says that no police representatives spoke to him on October 1;

  • Says that police were sent to Catalonia because of the "exceptional situation";

  • Says he can't remember if the National Pact for the Referendum [grouping pro-sovereignty entities in Catalonia] had sent him a letter requesting a referendum; and

  • Comments on a video showing police violence at Sant Carles de la Ràpita: "If the law hadn't been broken, these images would not be being seen."


Testimony of Cristóbal Montoro

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Former Spanish finance minister Cristóbal Montoro, testifies
Former Spanish finance minister Cristóbal Montoro, testifies

Former Spanish finance minister Cristobal Montoro, replying to popular prosecution Vox, says that:

  • From September 2017 all the funds of the Generalitat (Catalan government) were placed under central government control, with a system never before used that guaranteed "absolute control" of spending.

  • All reports from the Civil Guard and the various prosecutions were checked by the Ministry of Finance.

In responding to counsel for the Prosecutor-General's Office Montoro says that:

  • Once the referendum was announced financial controls passed from monthly to weekly.

  • "Now that the Generalitat was under financial intervention, it was impossible for it to pay for the referendum from its own funds." However, this did not cover spending already undertaken, such as publicity for the referendum.

  • "irregularities that might have indicated misuse of public funds were sent to the Prosecutor-General's Office."

In responding to defence counsel, Montoro says:

  • On the phrase he uttered in Congress in 2018 ("Not a euro of public money was spent on the referendum"): "Sometimes on certain themes we simplify a bit."

  • That he is unaware if the Generalitat gave an order to UniPost, as claimed by the Civil Guard.


Testimony of Marta Pascal

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Marta Pascal, former general coordinator of the Catalan European Democratic Party (PDECat), testifies
Marta Pascal, former general coordinator of the Catalan European Democratic Party (PDECat), testifies

Former PDECat general coordinator Marta Pascal, replying to popular prosecution Vox, says that:

  • "We talked about many things with Carles Puigdemont and he, along with the government, took the decision to hold the referendum."

In responding to counsel for the Prosecutor-General's Office Pascal says that:

  • She had no knowledge of the document 'Enfocats' until she saw it published.

  • "Achieving independence for Catalonia is among our most noble ideals, but always peacefully. It's also true that I don't support the unilateral road." She communicated to Puigdemont in October 2017 that she supported calling early elections to avoid an article 155 suspension of Catalan self-rule.

  • (On parliamentary sessions of September 6 and 7): "All the groups could present amendments, and they did. [...] Speaker Forcadell's attitude was to give all MPs a chance to intervene."


Testimony of Antonio Baños

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Antonio Baños, journalist and former People's Unity List (CUP) MP, refuses to answers the questions of the popular prosecution, Vox
Antonio Baños, journalist and former People's Unity List (CUP) MP, refuses to answers the questions of the popular prosecution, Vox

Former CUP MP Baños refuses to answer the questions of popular prosecution Vox: "On the grounds of democratic and antifascist dignity I refuse to be questioned by Vox."

Marchena proposes that he personally repeat Vox's questions and Baños agrees, but after the second question refuses to continue with this formula and is suspended from the court by Marchena.


Testimony of Eulalia Reguant

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Former CUP MP Eulàlia Reguant: expelled from the court after two minutes
Former CUP MP Eulàlia Reguant: expelled from the court after two minutes

Eulàlia Reguant asks to be able to speak in Catalan and not reply to the questions of Vox: "In the presence of the extreme right, a male chauvinist and xenophobic party, I refuse to answer their questions," She too is removed from the court by Marchena.


Testimony of Núria de Gispert

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Former Catalan parliament speaker Núria de Gispert testifies
Former Catalan parliament speaker Núria de Gispert testifies

Former Catalan parliament speaker Núria de Gispert, replying to defence counsel and the prosecutor, says that:

  • The speakership panel during her time allowed a motion in support of Catalan independence to be debated by parliament, without any legal consequences. Also a parliamentary commission to study the right of self-determination was set up, and was not appealed to the Constitutional Court.

  • The recommendations of the Commission of Statutory Guarantees and parliamentary counsel are not binding: parliament itself has to decide whether to accept them.

  • Plenaries of parliament often change the day's agenda proposed by the speakership panel: however, she had not seen legislation adopted as quickly as in the 12 or 14 hours  taken to adopt the referendum and transitionality laws on September 6 and 7.

  • She would have handled the sessions of September 6 and 7 exactly as done by Carme Forcadell.


February 26 | Day 7: Testimony of Jordi Cuixart and Carme Forcadell (Catalan public media coverage in English here and here)


For an English-language summary of Day 7 go to:


Testimony of Jordi Cuixart

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Òmnium Cultural president Jordi Cuixart in one of many clashes with the prosecutor
Òmnium Cultural president Jordi Cuixart: "I am a political prisoner. My priority is not to get out of jail. My priority is to defend the fundamental rights and freedoms damaged by the Spanish State."

Cuixart, president of Òmnium Cultural, agrees to answer the questions of the Prosecutor-General and the Solicitor-General, as well as those of his defence counsel, but not those of the popular prosecution Vox.

He explains that Òmnium Cultural does not have a specific political line, but seeks to generate consensus among all those who support a Catalan right to self-determination. Òmnium signed the declaration of a road map to independence before the September 27, 2015 elections because the elections were posed as a plebiscite on independence.

Cuixart: "I am a political prisoner, not a politician in prison."

Cuixart: "Our headquarters has been searched by police three times in its history [which began in 1961]. On this last search, ordered by [investigating magistrate Pablo] Llarena, they downloaded 30,000 of my emails." He denies that a "democratic tsunami" that he calls for in one of his tweets was aimed at increasing social tension and says  that the web site Call for Democracy "responded to the need to publicise the referendum".

Asked as to the meaning of an email referring to an Òmnium reserve fund of "500,000 llonganissas [thin, cured, pork sausages--slang for euros] Cuixart explains that it is to counter official Spanish propaganda celebrating October 12 (the "Day of the Race", celebrating the "discovery" of Latin America). "It was an internal email. Maybe I didn't express myself with the necessary elegance, had I known it was going to be anaylsed in this chamber."

Cuixart: "I have always supported ongoing mobilisation--I hope that's not being questioned here."

Cuixart denounces the closure of hundreds of pro-referendum web sites, done without legal warrant.

Cuixart says he can't recall when he learned that the Constitutional Court had suspended the referendum law, but that "in the face of a suspension of fundamental rights we shall never give up on asserting them."

Cuixart explains that the demonstration of September 20 was spontaneous, and that only after people started gathering outside the Department of Economy did Òmnium come out in support of it.

Cuixart: "How would French society react if its financial autonomy were suspended?

"The only violence produced on October 1 was done by the [Spanish National] police and the Civil Guard. [...] The modern Catalanist movement has never used violence, but we will always defend democracy by showing our disagreement with attacks on the headquarters of our government and parties."

[Presiding judge Marchena intervenes twice to ask Cuixart not to offend the dignity of the court with expressions like "bloody hell".]

On the damage done to the Civil Guard cars: "I get irritated when things are broken, whether they're mine or not, and I made it clear that same day that I didn't support the behaviour of damaging the Civil Guard cars."

On the decision of the legal secretary of Barcelona Court Number 13, which authorised the search, to leave the building via the roof top to the neighbouring building [ostensibly for fear of the crowd]: "She could have used the traffic passage [created by ANC volunteers to allow people to enter and leave], and I would have been pleased if she had."

In answer to the prosecutor's suggestion that he should have called the demonstration off early: "The right to demonstrate can't be questioned and if there was no violence, why should I have called it off?"

On he and Jordi Sànchez speaking to the crowd from the roof of a Civil Guard car:  [He and Sànchez had already called for the demonstration to end at midnight] "but since many people were telling us they hadn't heard us we had to climb onto the Civil Guard car to get the message across."

On the decision to go ahead with the referendum after the referendum law had been suspended by the Constitutional Court: "Caught in the dilemma between obeying the Constitutional Court or exercising basic human rights, we chose basic human rights."

On civil disobedience: "Civil disobedience is not to be punished [...] It's a tool societies have for achieving social progress." Cuixart refers to the case of the 97 days of continuous prayer successfully conducted in a Dutch church to prevent the deportation of an Armenian family.

On the occupation of polling stations from September 28: "The more people there were in the polling stations, the quicker you could see that the violence was disproportionate."

On consultation of Catalan public opinion: "We'll try to celebrate as many referendums as possible until there's one without police violence whose result can be implemented."

On relations with other people of the Spanish State: "They want us to confront the other peoples of the Spanish State, but they won't succeed because we are sister peoples."

Cuixart: "The prosecutor doesn't like my answers. But I don't have any others."

On possibly violent minorities: "There were groups that didn't fit the profile of our demonstrators. We urged them not to use violence and they didn't. There were no incidents. Maybe some people would have liked it if there had been."

On non-violent resistance: "On October 1 we called for hands in the air and backside on the gound. Our main concern was that no-one get things wrong and break the discipline of non-violence in the face of the attacks. [...] Non-violent resistance means 'non-violent'. It doesn't mean 'passive' or 'doing nothing': place yourself in a fixed position and show dissent, but never resort to violence."

NOTE: During Cuixart's testimony 1500 people joined Òmnium Cultural, making it the biggest association in Catalonia (over 143,000), ahead of Barcelona FC.


Testimony of Carme Forcadell

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Carme Forcadell, former speaker of the Catalan parliament, giving evidence
Carme Forcadell, former speaker of the Catalan parliament, giving evidence

Forcadell agrees to answer the questions of the Prosecutor-General and the Solicitor-General, as well as those of his defence counsel, but not those of the popular prosecution Vox.

Forcadell denounces the violation of language rights involved in her not being able to testify in Catalan.

Forcadell: "I had nothing to do with the electoral program of Together for the Yes (JxSí), and I only knew I would become speaker a week before it happened [against prosecution suggestions that she had been part of a secessionist high command]. [...] I didn´t develop or lead any strategy."

On her responsibilities as speaker and the responsibilities of the speakership board (proportionately composed of parties with representation in the parliament) :

  • "The panel does not have the authority to weigh the constitutionality of items of parliamentary business. Otherwise it would be limiting debate."

  • (Explaining why the speakership panel has only refused to put items of business before the parliament on two occasions): "The content of a proposal has to be considered in depth only when it's a question of citizen-initiated legislation."

  • "The essence of democracy is that  parliament has to be free to debate. We have to be able to talk about everything in parliament. At the speakership panel we've always had regards for basic rights like political pluralism and freedom of expression."

  • "The Constitutional Court was asking us for something impossible: how the panel could convert itself into an organ of censorship and decide what parliament can and can't talk about. Censorship has no place in parliament." Later, in answer to her own counsel, he cites the speaker of the British parliament saying that he would accept a discussion on the right of self-determination.

  • "The panel can only organise the debate and the speaking list--the house itself is sovereign and supreme."

On the non-binding opinion of the parliament's legal counsel with regard to ignoring Constitutional Court injunctions:

  • "At the time of voting, we have always communicated the opinion of counsel to parliament, which is the highest body."

  • "The counsel sometimes act with a excess of self-protection and zeal, and they are right to do so."

On the status of parliament's declaration of independence (October 27)

  • "On October 27 two resolutions were adopted and a preamble that was a political declaration without legal impications."

On her actions on Sepember 6 and 7 (when the laws were adopted on the referendum and the transition to a Catalan legal regime in case of a Yes vote)

  • Forcadell explains that the process of adopting the referendum law with a single reading has been used in a variety of parliaments: "We abided strictly by the standing orders of the Parliament of Catalonia."

  • Forcadell notes that speakership panel Joan Josep Nuet, although he supported the decision to have parliament treat the referendum law, was not charged because he is not an independentist. "I don't understand why I am being judged by this court when my fellow panel members who voted to adopt the same items of business as I did are being tried by the High Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) for disobedience.


International Trial Watch's assessment of second week of trial

NOTE: ITW's assesment of the second week of the trial is so far only available in Castilian (Spanish), here. The following observations on the assessment appeared in Ara in English on February 26.

Referendum trial observers: Prosecutor’s questions that “criminalise” demonstrations are “worrying”

International Trial Watch decries last Wednesday’s drawn-out court session and the fact that a calendar for the trial has not been made public

On Monday International Trial Watch (ITW) complained about the “especially worrying” questions put by the Prosecutor and the State’s Attorney [Solicitor-General] to Jordi Sànchez, the former leader of the Catalan National Assembly, when he was questioned about freedom of assembly. The platform of international observers believes that “the right to stage and take part in large demonstrations is being criminalised”. In a press release containing their assessment of last week’s sessions, ITW claims that the Prosecution was guilty of some “inaccuracies” and asked “questions that could be regarded as leading or loaded”. Furthermore, the observers complain about the inordinate length of last Wednesday’s session and the fact that all parties are being kept in the dark about the full calendar of the trial, as “this can impact on their right of defence”.

In the statement, ITW explains that four of their observers were present in court last week. They were John Philpot, who acted at the International Criminal court in The Hague (ICC) in the Kenya file and at the International Criminal Court for Rwanda; Paul Newman, a regular speaker at the UN’s Human Rights Committee; Bill Bowring, a member of the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy & World Human Rights, and Joaquín Urías, a former attorney with Spain’s Constitutional Court and a Constitutional Law professor.

The observers noted that during his cross-examination, “several statements lifted from a document were mistakenly attributed to former Catalan minister Josep Rull”. Likewise, former minister Dolors Bassa was questioned about “an alleged email message which was not part of the brief, leading to confusion”. They also referred to “a Twitter post from Bassa that the Prosecution had misinterpreted”.

ITW regards the questions put by the Prosecutor and the State’s Attorney to Jordi Sànchez on the subject of freedom of assembly as “especially worrying”. “There is a confusion between giving advance warning about a protest or a demonstration and the alleged need to obtain permission for it, which is unconstitutional. Meanwhile, staging and taking part in mass demonstrations is being criminalised”, they noted. The observers believe that the plaintiffs are “unaware” of the concept of “spontaneous demonstrations, which is recognised and protected by international laws that Spain adheres to”. They believe that “the prosecutors are switching the interpretation order mandated by the Constitution whenever basic rights are at stake”.

In the dark about the calendar

The platform also points out that the parties involved “are being kept in the dark about the full calendar of the trial” and the order in which witnesses will appear in court. “This makes cross-examination preparations extremely difficult”, they warned. On this point they mention that the only names that have been disclosed are those of the witnesses who are expected to testify this week, which “might impact on the defendants’ right to proper legal counsel and the prohibition of defencelessness”.

ITW also denounces “an alteration of the order of expert evidence” as mandated by law because “the order did not follow the prosecution’s suggestion, but the choice of names was made on the basis of having held public office, regardless of who suggested them”. Up to twenty witnesses are expected to appear in court this week and all of them are or have been elected officials.

The observers note that some of the lawyers asked for six of the witnesses proposed only by the defence should appear in court after the witnesses for the prosecution “to safeguard the defendants’ right of defence”. While the presiding judge, Manuel Marchena, “stated that their request would be granted”, last Friday —when the court decided the order for this week— their request was dismissed.

ITW also insists that last Wednesday’s session was so long that the defendants who are held on remand spent in court “from about 8 am to 10.30 pm”. “They got back to their cell at about midnight, too late for a hot meal and a shower”, they complained, and the next morning “they had to get up at 6 to be driven back to court”. The observers mention the complaints by some of the defence teams “because the defendants were cross-examined in such dire conditions”, as they were not “in the right state to be questioned for hours”.

Relinquishing the right to speak their mother tongue

The observers also note that the court’s failure to set up a simultaneous translation system from Catalan into Spanish (only consecutive translation was made available) meant that “in practice” the defendants “had to relinquish their right to speak their mother tongue” because consecutive translation “appears to detract from the spontaneity of their answers and does not allow their statements to flow”. The platform remarked that most of the defendants complained about this in court and they believe this “might infringe upon their right to equal treatment and impact on their right of defence, as well as violate their language rights”. Furthermore, these issues are “a consequence of the violation of their right to be tried by the default court of justice, as enshrined in the law”.

On a more positive note, the ITW observers appreciate the fact that the court allowed the defendants to sit with their lawyer after the cross-examination. They also praised the court for not setting a time limit for any of the cross-examinations and allowing the defendants to express themselves with “full answers”.

“Queuing up since the wee hours”

For the second time, this week the platform decried the fact that Madrid’s Supreme Court did not reserve any places for their observers, who had no choice but to queue for a seat in the public gallery. International Trial Watch believes this system is “very complicated” and makes it difficult for them to be present in court because they need to “queue up since the wee hours of the morning in order to get a seat” given that “at a random time, between 7 and 8 am, the general public are allowed to enter the premises —after turning off and handing over all their electronic devices— and spend two to three hours in a corridor until the session begins, with limited personal mobility for security reasons.

Furthermore, ITW stated that “the limitations on the use of mobile phones does not apply to everyone in court, but only to the general public”. That is why they view this measure as “arbitrary and unnecessary”.

Translation: Ara


February 25 | Court not sitting


Latest Spanish state poll (GAD3, published in ABC)

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GAD3 poll for Spanish general elections: The right gains slightly, but still falls short of an absolute majority
GAD3 poll for Spanish general elections: The right gains slightly, but still falls short of an absolute majority

On King Philip's visit to Barcelona to open the Mobile World Congress


Comment (Editorial, El Nacional)

Was this the trial that the State wanted?

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Credit: Chappette, New York Times

With the first two weeks of the Catalan independence trial behind us, we can now make a very preliminary initial analysis of the proceedings in the Supreme Court, having heard the testimonies of seven of the nine political prisoners in preventative jail, as well as those of the three other members of the Catalan Government charged and on bail. It is quite obvious from what has happened up till now that, after six court sessions, the rebellion charges seem further away than ever, the misuse of funds has still not been demonstrated, and even the disobedience remains in the air. Both the Public Prosecutors and the State Solicitor have hit a brick wall in their attempts to drive ahead with a narrative which is known to be false and which only unionist politics and Spanish nationalist media have been clinging to against the odds.

Was this the trial that was wanted by judges, political parties that voted for article 155 and others? Obviously not. Of those people in legal spheres that I've spoken to in this last fortnight, I haven't managed to find anyone with the perception that the trial is going well for those who pressed on regardless with the scandalous preventative detention and the demands for heavy sentences for the Catalan prisoners. This is so clear that a phrase uttered by king Felipe VI on claimed democracies and compliance with the law has been quickly interpreted as a subtle hint to the judges that they should not be moved by the lack of any evidence of guilt.

This strengthens the argument that the trial is intended, above all, to teach a lesson to the independence movement and that the defendants must not be let off with minor sentences. International observers have already realized how weak the prosecution cases are. A cartoon in The New York Times gives a perfect visual summary of what other media have expressed in words. Oriol Junqueras is seen with a small Catalan estelada flag in his hand telling the judges, "I don't recognize your independence," and the three justices behind their courtroom bench are flanked by two large Spanish flags.

In view of how the trial has unfolded over these two weeks, the State has implemented the best strategy it had: turning off the broadcasts in Spain that allowed the public to follow the trial live on television. Thus, the only truth that reaches them is that transmitted by the written press, the radio and TV news programmes. And in this way the Casados, Riveras, Borrells, Sánchezs and so many others can distort the truth. As we already know, the first casualty in a conflict is the freedom of information.

Translation: El Nacional


Week ending February 24


February 24 | Court not sitting


The Spanish monarchy at work

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Froilan, King Philips' nephew and fourth in line to the throne, at the February 9 rally for Spanish unity called by the PP, Citizens and Vox
Froilan, King Philips' nephew and fourth in line to the throne, at the February 9 rally for Spanish unity called by the PP, Citizens and Vox

Catalonia-related news

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Today's Citizens stunt outside the House of the Republic (Waterloo, Belgium)
Today's Citizens stunt outside the House of the Republic in Waterloo, Belgium (Credit: Ara). Citizens' Catalan leader Ines Arrimades (centre in red jacket) has decided to leave the Catalan parliament and stand for the Spanish Congress on April 28

February 23 | Court not sitting


Catalonia-related news


February 22 | Court not sitting


Some comment on the trial


February 21 | Day 6: Testimony of Santi Vila and Jordi Sànchez--day of general strike and protests in Catalonia (Catalan public media coverage in English here and here)


Images from today's general strike and protest marches in Catalonia

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December 21, Girona: 70,000 marched in a city of 100,000, repeating the size of the October 3, 2017 demonstration against the police violence of October 1
December 21, Girona: 70,000 marched in a city of 100,000, repeating the size of the October 3, 2017 demonstration against the police violence of October 1

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Slow march outside Tarragona stops traffic on the N-240
Slow march outside Tarragona stops traffic on the N-240

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Police attack roadblock outside Vic in central Catalonia

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Barcelona student march sets off: "It's Not a Trial, It's a Disgrace"
Barcelona student march sets off: "It's Not a Trial, It's a Disgrace"

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Demonstrators occupy Barcelona's Gran Via (Broadway)
Demonstrators occupy Barcelona's Gran Via (Broadway)


Following of general strike

Participation in the general strike was weak, because it was convened by the minority, pro-independence union Intersindical-CSC and did not have the support of the two major union confederations, the Workers Commissions (CCOO) and the General Union of Workers (UGT). Basic data (employer figures):

  • Participation rates by sector (non-transport): Health 7.52%, Education (not tertiary) 27.87%, Education (tertiary) 67.45%, Public servants 23.66%, Commerce 30%

  • Participation rates by sector (transport): Barcelona metro 12.15%, Barcelona buses 4.2%, Offices of the Barcelona Metropolitan Transport Authority 67.86%, Catalan railways (FGC) 8.08% Spanish rail network (RENFE) 2.83%

  • Electricity consumption fell by only 3.7% compared to the previous day


For an English-language summary of Day 6 go to:


Testimony of Santi Vila (Sources: Ara, 3/24)

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Former Catalan business minister Santi Vila giving evidence
Former Catalan business minister Santi Vila giving evidence

Vila agrees to answer the questions of the Prosecutor-General and the Solicitor-General, as well as those of his defence counsel, but not those of the popular prosecution Vox.

Vila states that he was a minister in the Mas and Puigdemont governments but not an MP for the "eclectic" Together for the Yes (JxSí) and that he resigned on October 26, 2017 because he disagreed with the impending declaration of independence by the Catalan Parliament.

Vila: "On September 6, the referendum law was approved and then immediately suspended by the Constitutional Court. From that moment on neither I nor any other of my government colleagues took any decision in relation to that law." After the suspension, October 1 took on the character of a political mobilisation.

Vila says that the idea of the referendum was a "trick" of Puigdemont's in the face of pressure from a section of society that was demanding unilateral action for independence. "We wanted to tension the rope without breaking it so that a civic, peaceful, persistent and repetitive sentiment would find its path."

"The government did not spend a euro on the referendum [...] My intuition is that it was financed by various businessmen and patrons committed to the initiative."

Vila says that his support for the referendum, and that of a part of the citizens, was aimed at making it a "lever to produce a new wave of reforms and updating of the constitutional consensus" and to drag the Spanish government out of its "inertia".

On how to respond to the result of October 1: "I resigned in frustration because after October 1 interpretations differed as to what had happened: some saw it as a referendum, others as a very important mobilisation."

Vila stresses his own efforts to avoid the "lunacy" of a Universal Declaration of Independence (UDI) and that he believed by October 25 he had achieved that and that "no unilateral action" would be taken. However,  "I told Puigdemont that if we were going to be sorcerer's apprentices under the pressure of the social networks, I would have to resign."

Answering the representative for the Solicitor-General's Office, Vila says:

  • "The solution for Catalonia will require the Catalans being able to vote on their own self-government."

  • "Many people would not have voted were it not for the disproportionate and unnecessary behaviour of the Spanish police. Many voted out of solidarity and a feeling of having been wounded."

  • "What happened in Catalonia is unworthy of a modern and democratic society like the Catalan."

Answering the questions of his own counsel:

  • On his role as a negotiator between the Catalan and Spanish governments with a view to avoiding a UDI and an article 155 intervention against Catalan self-rule: "There was a lot more that was moderate and centre-of-the-road in both governments than is often told."

  • "We had to be the government of the more than two million Catalans who stayed at home."

  • "President Puigdemont wanted me to stay by his side. I had and I still have good relations with important PP and PSOE figures:"


Testimony of Jordi Sànchez (Sources: Ara, 3/24)

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Jordi Sànchez, former president of the Catalan National Assembly and MP for Together for Catalonia (JxCat) testifies
Jordi Sànchez, former president of the Catalan National Assembly and MP for Together for Catalonia (JxCat), testified over four hours

Sànchez  agrees to answer the questions of the Prosecutor-General and the Solicitor-General, as well as those of his defence counsel, but not those of the popular prosecution Vox. He is first cross-examined for over three hours by the lead prosecutor, Javier Zaragoza.

According to the Prosceutor-General's charge sheet against Sànchez, and Òmnium Cultural president Jordi Cuixart, "they contemplated the use of any means necessary to achieve their objective [of independence], including violence" [...] "making use of intimidatory force arising from the tumultuous acts, involving mass protests that they instigated and promoted".

Sànchez begins his appearance by deploring the lack of simultaneous translation from Catalan into Castilian (Spanish):" I have the same right as any other citizen in this state to use the mother tongue. The Supreme Court has lost an opportunity for pedagogy as to what a multicultural and plurinational state should be."

Sànchez: "I consider myself a political prisoner, and that I am in a political trial. [...] I am convinced that all the charges against me are false. I am not at all afraid to reply to them. [...] I am in this court because I was president of the ANC."

Sànchez is cross-examined closely and and in detail by prosecutor Zaragoza, particularly with regard to the September 20, 2017 mass demonstration outside the Catalan Department of Economy, which was the subject of a Civil Guard search where the vehicles of those conducting the search were covered in stickers, their tyres let down and windows broken.

On the "road map" to independence adopted by the ANC in 2015: Sànchez: "Everyone makes road maps. They are declarations of intention, with the value that political intentions have [...] when scenarios are open and changing."

On the ideology and activity of the ANC: Sànchez stresses the legal and "absolutely peaceful" character of the ANC and the demonstrations it has organised.

Sànchez's defence counsel complains that prosecutor Zaragoza is citing his testimony to the investigating magistrate Pablo Llarena out of context and distorting its literal meaning.

Purpose of the demonstration of September 20: "That demonstration to protest--and only to protest--a legal decision was done with the theme 'Let's Defend The Institutions!', a proclamation that wasn't just mine or the ANC's."

Status of a legal decision: "A judicial decision should be respected, but that doesn't exclude its being protested. [...] That's why we called on the citizens of Catalonia to mobilise [...] to protest and show indignation against a judicial decision whose basic motiation we didn't know."

Number of tweets made on the day: "I don't remember," says Sànchez, stressing that all tweets called for a peaceful protest against the searches of Catalan government and private premises.

Contacts had with Catalan government ministers on the day: "I got a call from the interior minister [Joaquim Forn], saying that we would have to help with security and order issues to do with the demonstration, and leave a passage to help the legal search team enter the building."

Role of the ANC volunteer security guard on the day: "We've always had a security guard to guarantee safety at any event. A group that has always acted in coordination with the police and emergency services." He says that Forn asked for these volunteers to create a "traffic passage" to facilitate normal operations inside and outside the building and that he, Sànchez, communicated this request to Josep Lluís Trapero, the head of the Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalan police).

Contact with the Civil Guard: A lieutenant of the Civil Guard informed Sànchez that there were large calibre weapons in the cars. "That caused me nervous tension like that I've rarely experienced at a demonstration."  Just after midday he called on the ANC's security volunteers to stop guarding the Civil Guard cars because that was not their responsibility. "Providing a security service shouldn't be confused with maintaining public order: that was in the hands of the Mossos and the Civil Guard."

Mood on the day: Sánchez describes it as "festive", and says there were no moments of tension.

On contradictions claimed by the prosecution between his evidence to the investigating magistrate and to the court: "Next week I will have been in prison for 500 days, and it must be 530 days since I testified before the examining magistrate."

On the functioning of the "traffic passage" and access to the vehicle entrance to the Department of Economy building: "The Civil Guard lieutenant said that the traffic passage did not seem to him to an adequate method for moving out any detainees because it was not safe. [But], technically, it was neither reasonable nor common sense to try to shift the demonstrators. I didn't see myself capable of shifting thousands of people so a few vehicles could enter [the car entrance]."

Prosecutor: "So you were conscious that you were hindering the conduct of the legal authorities?" "The court search team was carrying out its work in an absolutely normal manner [...] Even if I had wanted too, I couldn't have called off that demonstration with a megaphone. [...] There was no attempt by the Civil Guard and the search team to leave the building and then have to go back inside because they couldn't leave."

On the visual evidence: "There's not a second in those images showing the search team being in a situation of risk."

On the few violent incidents on the day: These happened "after the vast majority of the demonstration had left", thanks to the efforts of himself and Jordi Cuixart in declaring it over.

On the damage to the Civil Guard cars: "It has no justification."

On the prosecution ascribing any disorders on the day to the ANC: "You're assuming that I and the ANC volunteers assumed responsibility for security on September 20, and that is false."

Motive for the charges against himself and Jordi Cuixart: "We are being punished for leading civic organisations and exercising the right to free expression."

On his call to keep the demonstration going because "it's going to a long night": "At that point nobody had said that the court search team had finished its work. [...] Our commitment was that the demonstration would finish as midnight."

In answer to the persistent implication of the prosecutor that he should have called the demonstration off early: "Please, a sticker on a vehicle is no reason to call off a demonstration of between 40,000 and 60,000 people!"

On prosecution claims that the Civil Guard was "beseiged" in the Department of Economy building until 7am on the morning of September 21: "This was the time it took for the Barcelona municipal tow trucks to come to remove the damaged Civil Guard cars."

On the decision of the legal secretary of Barcelona Court Number 13, which authorised the search, to leave the building via the roof top to the neighbouring building [ostensibly for fear of the crowd]: "All the conditions were in place for her to leave via the front door, and no-one knew who she was."

On he and Jordi Cuixart speaking to the crowd from the roof of a Civil Guard car: He didn't ask the Civil Guard for permission but told the lieutenant in charge he was going to do it,. The lieutenant said he should do it so as to be seen.

On the damage done to the Civil Guard cars: "This damage does not justify the narrrative of an uprising with the goal of harming persons and vehicles. [...] This damage took place because the demonstration was in part improvised and because it's always possible that a few will take advantage of anonymity to cause damage. That can happen at a demonstration, but also at a concert or a sporting event. I don't believe it was because of the tension of the referendum."

Clarifying and defending ANC participation in the preparation of the referendum

  • The ANC distributed ballot papers to the population and asked that they be reproduced so there would be enough on the day [the previously printed ballot papers had been impounded by the Civil Guard].

  • "We carried out a public campaign in  support of participation in the referendum, we organised events with thousands of people, and we were never told we couldn't do that, nor was participation prohibited."

  • No judicial authority issued any ruling forbidding citizen participation in the referendum. "When the citizenry want to take part in a referendum that carries no legal sanction it has every right to do so".

  • "The legislative body [the Spanish parliament] modified the penal code to establish that holding a referendum could not be a crime. October 1 was a civic event that no legal authority had proscribed. After October 1, I learned that the Constitutional Court had suspended it, but the sentence didn't arrive until after October 1." Previously, the only legal order was that of the TSJC [Higher Court of Justice of Catalonia] instructing the State's security forces and bodies to not allow the referendum.

  • "The judge [of the TSJC, Mercedes Armas] in no case said that activities couldn't be conducted in the schools [in the days  before the referendum], she only said that the Generalitat couldn't count votes there."

  • "I am aware that there were around 2000 polling stations and that there was a festive atmosphere in the majority of these. In some there was a police presence with a disproportionate use of force."

  • "The right to demonstrate to demand the right to self-determination is not illegal. The public prosecuto never demanded of any court that it ban these situations [...] What is surprising is that without any previous criminal summons I find myself here responding to a demand for 17 years jail."

Finally, Sànchez rejects having ever proposed surrounding polling stations with cars, as proposed to him by an email from a certain "Xabi Strubell", offered as evidence by the prosecution. In the face of Zaragoza's insistance on this point, he compares his denial with that which judge Marchena himself made when a whatsapp by PP Senate leader Ignacio Cosidó asserted that the PP was controlling the trial "via the back door". "I don't want to be impertinent but it's like when the presiding judge of this chamber denied knowledge of certain whatapps compromising him."

In his answers to Rosa María Seoane, representing the Solicitor-General's Office, Sànchez says:

  • "The right to non-violent resistance is an act of legitimate protest that should not produce any violence on the part of the police."

  • "The activities organised by the collective 'Open Schools' [between September 28-30] were not prohibited. There was no reason to think that these activities shouldn't have taken place." Sànchez reminds Seoane that TSJC judge Mercedes Ayala allowed the centres to remain open."

Sànchez's defence counsel Jordi Pina shows video evidence, which Sànchez says supports the following conclusions:

  • The demonstration of September 20 was completely peaceful;

  • Communications between Sànchez and the Civil Guard lieutenant in charge of the search were normal and correct;

  • The song sung ironically by the crowd when the Civil Guard and search team finally left the premises of the Department of Economy (Passiu-ho bé--Have a Good Time) showed they had no intention of restraining or intimidating them;

  • "The cameras show that the police vehicles arrived at 0800, and there are people who get out and enter the Department. Afterwards, incomprehensibly, even though there's a car park alongside, the vehicles aren't parked there." Moreover, in another location where the Civil Guards conduct a search, their vehicles are guarded by the agents themselves;

  • "All the businesses and bars in the vicinity remained open all day without incidents. That proves there was no climate of tension"; and

  • The Civil Guards used the "traffic passage" created by the ANC volunteer security guard without problem, and the media clambered on top of the Civil Guard cars to get a better view of the demonstration.

Other points made by Sànchez in answer to defence counsel are:

  • "I had no knowledge of the document 'Enfocats'." Sànchez says he was only able to read it because it is including in the Prosecutor-General's charge sheet. It is "way off the mark".

  • The ANC has never received money from the Catalan government and has always been demanding towards it.

  • "The goal of the ANC is Catalan independence. That has never caused us any legal problem."

  • "I never called any referendum: I urged the people to participate."

Jordi Pina finishes his defence by showing, as a contrast to September 20,  a video of police and Civil Guard action on October 1.


February 20 | Day 5: Testimony of Josep Rull, Dolors Bassa, Meritxell Borras and Carles Mundó (Catalan public media coverage in English here, here, here and here)


Commentary on the trial to date