26th September 2023
Felipe VI, Puigdemont and Rajoy
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Felipe VI, Puigdemont, Rajoy requested as witnesses

Spain’s king Felipe VI, along with the former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and the former Spanish Prime Minister at the time of 1 October 2017 referendum, Mariano Rajoy, are among the witnesses named for the upcoming trial against the independence case.

Three jailed leader – Jordi Sànchez, Josep Rull and Jordi Turull – have requested their presence in the Supreme Court, and it is now up to the judges to accept or reject these proposals.

ALSO READ: Court wants jailed leaders transferred to Madrid

This is part of the statement of defense of these prosecuted leaders, all of whom are members of the pro-independence Junts per Catalunya group in the Catalan Parliament.

Other officials in pre-trial prison have also issued their statement of defense, including former vice president Oriol Junqueras and former minister Raül Romeva, who state they are ‘pacifists and democrats’. They both request their acquittal.

Felipe VI, Puigdemont and Rajoy
Felipe VI (centre), former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont (right) and former Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (left) attending a remembrance ceremony after the terrorist attack in Barcelona in August 2017. (Maria Fernandez / via ACN)

Another individual who will face a trial, activist Jordi Cuixart, denounces in his statement of defense the ‘suspension of civil, political and democratic rights’ in Spain in order to ‘protect Spain’s territorial unity’.

ALSO READ: Jailed leaders to defend ‘legitimacy’ of referendum

In total, nine people are in pre-trial jail for their role in Catalonia’s push for independence, including six former ministers, two activists, and the former parliament speaker that allowed a vote on independence to take place.

The public prosecutor has requested a joint total 177 years prison sentence, including 25 years for Oriol Junqueras, the highest individual proposed sentence.

The sensitive trial will start more than a year after Catalan leaders in the northeastern region attempted to break away from Spain in October 2017 by staging the referendum despite a court ban.

They subsequently proclaimed independence but Spain’s then conservative government moved swiftly to depose the Catalan executive, dissolve the regional parliament and call snap local elections in December.

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