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.
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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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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