Spain’s National Court has confirmed that it will try the former leadership of the Catalan police, the Mossos d’Esquadra, for its role in the independence referendum.
Former Mossos chief Josep Lluís Trapero, former interior ministry officials, Cèsar Puig and Pere Soler, as well as former police head, Teresa Laplana, are accused of putting the Catalan police force ‘at the service of the plans for independence.’
Catalan police officers closed nearly 300 polling stations during the 2017 independence referendum, following orders from Spanish courts. Yet, and unlike Spanish police, they didn’t use force against referendum voters.
Defence lawyers argued that the former officials should be tried in the High Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC), but the National Court dismissed the request.
The former Catalan home affairs minister Joaquim Forn testified in Spain’s Supreme Court last week and said that he ‘defended the [independence] referendum as a politician, but told Catalan police to follow court orders.’
Accused of not doing enough to stop the vote, Forn denied giving any ‘political orders’ to the Catalan police: ‘Nothing of what the Catalan police did on 20 September or 1 October was against the Spanish constitution.’
Catalonia’s top political and civil society leaders during the referendum are being judged in Spain’s Supreme Court, with the trial due to last some three months.
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