23rd June 2024
Josep Lluís Trapero
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Trial of former Catalan police chief, Josep Lluís Trapero, starts

The trial of Josep Lluís Trapero, former head of the Catalan police (the Mossos d’Esquadra) starts at Spain’s National Court in Madrid on Monday.

Trapero is charged with rebellion by Spain’s public prosecutor and could face up to 11 years in prison.

The trial, which is expected to go on until mid March, sees three other Catalan officials also sitting in the dock alongside Trapero. Also charged with rebellion is the former Mossos director Pere Soler and former general secretary of the Catalan interior ministry César Puig, whilst former Mossos superintendent Teresa Laplana is charged with sedition.

ALSO READ: Focus: the ‘Catalan Trials’ still to come …

The rebellion and sedition charges against Trapero, Soler, Puig and Laplana are based upon them allegedly aiding the Catalan independence bid with a lack of action in preventing the 1 October 2017 referendum, as well as their handling of the protests during Spanish police raids in Barcelona on 20 September 2017.

Trapero was the highest ranking police officer in Catalonia until he was removed from his post on 28 October 2017, after the Spanish government under Mariano Rajoy imposed direct rule on Catalonia under Article 155.

ALSO READ: Catalan Trial: Day 17 summary

Josep Lluís Trapero
Josep Lluís Trapero (centre), former chief of the Catalan police, the Mossos d’Esquadra, arriving at the High Court in Madrid on 16 October 2017. (Gabriel Bouys / AFP)

Ahead of the Mossos leadership trial, Spain’s public prosecutor has reportedly not ruled out lowering all charges to sedition, especially after the Spanish Supreme Court found the Catalan independence leaders guilty of sedition rather than rebellion in the verdicts delivered in the main Catalan Trial on 14 October 2019.

Witness testimonies are scheduled to begin from 3 February, with Diego Pérez de los Cobos, the Guardia Civil colonel who was in charge of the overall police operation against the 1 October 2017 referendum and who has accused the Mossos of defying court orders to prevent it.

ALSO READ: Informants in Catalan police paid by Spain to fight independence, claim reports

Another witness, Trapero’s second in command at the time, Ferrán López – who was later appointed by the Spanish government to take over as Mossos chief – is likely to argue that the Catalan police force did comply with the court order, and did so with the blessing of De los Cobos.

Josep Lluís Trapero
Josep Lluís Trapero testifying in the Supreme Court on 14 March 2019 during the main Catalan Trial.

It is expected that some 112 witnesses will testify, including police officers, politicians and some of the independence leaders convicted in October. It is not expected that former Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras and former interior minister Joaquim Forn will appear as witnesses until towards the end of the trial.

ALSO READ: Outrage as prosecutor doubts Catalan judges’ impartiality

The jailed former pro-independence activist Jordi Sánchez will also be summoned to give evidence, as well as the former Catalan president, Artur Mas.

Unlike the main Catalan trial, the Mossos leadership trial will not be televised or streamed live.

ALSO READ: Catalan Trial verdict and sentences – up to 13 years

Click here for all articles and updates the Catalan Trial, verdicts and sentencing


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