24th May 2019
Jordi Pesarrodona
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Catalan Trial: Day 44 summary

Day 44 of the Catalan Trial, the penultimate day of all the witness hearings, was marked by a clash between Supreme Court judge Manuel Marchena and Jordi Cuixart‘s defence counsel, Benet Salellas.

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

The started with a testimony from Ramon Font, the head of an education trade union, who spoke about the initiative to keep schools busy with people during the whole 1 October 2017 referendum weekend.

Font said that the pro-independence organisation Òmnium Cultural joined the initiative to keep the schools to be used as polling stations open during the referendum. ‘We couldn’t conceive that schools, for us temples of culture and democracy, would remain closed for any state decision.’

Supreme Court judge Manuel Marchena interrupted the witness several times, at one point suggesting that he could ‘reply with a monosyllable’.

Next to testify was philosopher Marina Garcés. Judge Marchena repeatedly cut her off whenever she expressed her feelings over the referendum day. ‘We can’t waste time,’ he said.

Garcés was also interrupted during her testimony for expressing what the judge dismissed as ‘subjective remarks’ such as when she called the October 2017 referendum ‘amazing’.

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‘Your personal opinions are of no interest, even though you would love to keep talking about them,’ Marchena interjected, as the witness discussed her experience of voting day.

However, lawyer Benet Salellas protested his assessment, noting that the court had been receptive to ‘the perceptions of witnesses of the referendum when they were police officers’.

Judge Marchena suggested he would be glad if Salellas remained quiet during the cross-examination of academic Marina Garcés.

Salellas protested and denounced a ‘continued violation of fundamental rights’ and said he would not be asking further questions as a result of the decision. ‘Much better,’ Marchena responded.

ALSO READ: Jordi Sànchez: ‘Nothing we’ve seen in our trial justifies prison’

Next to testify was lawyer Lluis Matamala, who initially asked to be able to testify in Catalan. Marchena eventually threatened to make him leave the courtroom with criminal consequences if he continued to debate during his replies.

Later in the morning Jordi Pesarrodona testified. He famously had a photo taken of himself next to a Spanish police officer during the 20 September raids, after which he was investigated. As he is under investigation for serious contempt in another court, he testified alongside a lawyer.

Jordi Pesarrodona
Jordi Pesarrodona, wearing a clown nose, standing next to a police office on 20 September 2017.

Asked if he knew any of the defendants, Pesarrodona replied: ‘Because of the repression, I know them all.’

He said that on the day of the October 2017 referendum, the Spanish police hit his testicles with batons several times.

During the afternoon session, Montserrat Vintró, the deputy finance director in the Catalan government’s justice ministry, was one of those to testify.

The next two witnesses, Maria Lluisa Carrillo and Esther Raya, each discussed their experiences at polling stations. Carrillo said she was thrown to the ground by police and broke her pelvis. Raya said she saw police beat people ‘totally disproportionately’.

Pere Sol, former general secretary of the Catalan parliament under speaker Carme Forcadell (one of the defendants)said he didn’t recall any [parliamentary] proposals being rejected on grounds of unconstitutionality. He cited ‘personal reasons’ for his resignation after a year in the post.

ALSO READ: Junqueras stopped from joining EU election TV debate

Mercé Arderiu, a lawyer at the Catalan parliament, said the order of the day was changed on 6 and 7 September at the request of MPs. She explained speaker Forcadell had no power to prevent this from happening.

Next in the witness stand was Lluis Corominas, currently awaiting trial in Catalonia on charges of disobedience for his role in the Catalan declaration of independence.

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)

Corominas defended former parliament speaker Carme Forcadell: ‘All formal necessities were always examined. The president cannot do anything alone.’ After a recess, Corominas decided not to continue with his testimony.

Anna Simó was the final witness on Tuesday. She explained that Forcadell never once used her tie-breaking vote in any parliament decision. ‘The president of the chamber could not stop the alteration of the agenda. It was up to the parliament.’

The court was adjourned until Monday at 10am. On Tuesday, five of the defendants will be attending the Spanish Congress to be sworn in as MPs.

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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