22nd November 2019
Catalan leaders on trial
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Catalan Trial: Day 19 summary

More Guardia Civil officers testified at the Supreme Court on Wednesday, on the 19th day in the trial against 12 pro-independence Catalan leaders over the 2017 referendum.

Catalan Trial: click here full details of those accused, the charges, and the accusers.

Four of their colleagues gave testimony on Tuesday, and due to the length of their cross-examination, another three were postponed until Wednesday morning, when seven more were already due to answer questions from the prosecutors and the defence.

By the end of Thursday, 24 Guardia Civil officers are expected to have testified.

The first officer testifying on Wednesday of described how police seized ballot papers and documents detailing plans for independence in raids carried out in the days before the referendum.

ALSO READ: ‘Fairy trap’ goes viral after Enric Millo’s testimony

The officer took part in a raid of a warehouse in Bigues i Riells, where Guardia Civil police seized 10 million ballot papers. He also said the current Catalan president, Quim Torra, at that time an activist, was in and out of the warehouse in the days before the raid.

Catalan leaders on trial
Former Catalan leaders including (from front row right to left) Oriol Junqueras, Raul Romeva, Joaquim Forn, Jordi Sanchez, Jordi Turull, Josep Rull, Jordi Cuixart, Carme Forcadell, Dolors Bassa, Carles Mundo, Santi Vila and Meritxel Borras attend their trial at the Supreme Court in Madrid on 12 February 2019. (Emilio Naranjo / POOL / AFP)

In his testimony, the officer also described how protestors outside threw bottles and cans and ‘blockaded the police vehicles’ when they tried to leave. ‘The attitude of the protestors was totally hostile. We were confiscating their ballot papers for the referendum,’ he said.

ALSO READ: Catalan trial: controversy over ‘rebellion’ and violence

However, the witness also admitted that ‘fortunately there were no personal injuries’ during the protests and that the main outcome was ‘damage to vehicles’.

Referring to documents seized in other raids, the officer said one mentioned setting up an intelligence agency, while others expressed ‘concerns’ about the role of the Catalan police [the Mossos d’Esquadra] during the independence bid, or argued the need for ‘unilateral’ secession from Spain.

Later during the officer’s testimony, the defence objected that the police officers were giving testimony about events that the defense was not aware they had taken part in, and therefore did not provide enough time for them to prepare their cross-examination.

The second Guardia Civil officer to take the stand spoke about emails of Catalan officials intercepted by the police, such as a message from former labour minister Dolors Bassa informing a union leader to tell workers they had permission to leave work so as to vote in the referendum.

ALSO READ: EU event: Catalan trial is ‘thanks’ to far-right Vox

The officer also said there were protestors outside the labour ministry when the police raided it, and that the officers were subject to verbal insults from the crowd.

A further colleague of this witness testified that no emails related to the referendum were found on jailed activist Jordi Cuixart‘s email account.
Another of the six officers who testified during the morning session of the trial, explained that they intercepted some conversations between Catalan police officers on the referendum day, including one in which they wanted to make a pathway for the Spanish law enforcement in order to reach ballot boxes.
He also said the instructions Catalan officers received were to avoid being filmed next to Spanish police during their operation on referendum day.

The Guardia Civil officer who examined the email inbox of the former head of the Catalan National Assembly (ACN), Jordi Sànchez, admitted in the Supreme Court that the activist turned politician didn’t send any message inciting violence.

The witness recalled a message Sànchez received mentioning ‘violent scenarios’ caused by ‘the far-right and pro-independence armed groups’, but later clarified that out of 22 messages included in the case from Sànchez’s inbox, none were sent by him.

Catalan Trial: click here full details of those accused, the charges, and the accusers.

Click here for all articles and updates on the Catalan Trial

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