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Former Catalan police official felt 'uncomfortable' about approaching referendum

Ex-director general who resigned before the vote assures Supreme Court that Mossos d'Esquadra always complied with the law

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24 April 2019 06:56 PM

by

ACN | Madrid

The former director general of the Catalan police told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that he resigned his post in July 2017, as he was "not comfortable" with how political events were "unfolding" in the run-up to the independence referendum on October 1.

Testifying in the trial of the Catalan leaders charged with organizing the independence bid, Albert Batlle added that he decided to resign after Joaquim Forn -who is one of the defendants- was appointed interior minister.

Despite his misgivings about the government's intentions, Batlle insisted that the Catalan police always abided by the law and judicial rulings, and when he left his post he predicted that they would continue to do so.

He also said that Catalan police chief Josep Lluís Trapero -who is charged with rebellion in a related case- was very "protective" of the police's powers and "would not have accepted any interference from politicians."

PNR received no public money, says coordinator

Also testifying on Wednesday was Joan Ignasi Elena, the former coordinator of the National Pact for the Referendum (PNR in Catalan), who assured the court that the organization received no public money and that its website was not managed by the Catalan government.

According to Elena, the PNR -an umbrella body that included organizations and individuals in favor of a self-determination referendum- was funded by private donations and that the Catalan government was just one of thousands of entities that joined.

Unipost hired to distribute referendum material

Earlier in the day, a manager of the Unipost postal service, Rafael Ramírez, admitted that employees "assumed" that the company had been hired to distribute material related to the independence referendum, but that they did not know for sure.

Unipost's chairman, Antón Raventós, also testified, denying knowledge of referendum-related invoices sent to the government, while the former financial director, Xavier Barragan, said the firm received no payments for such work from the government.

MEP recalls anti-raid protests

Jordi Solé, a member of the European Parliament for pro-independence Esquerra (ERC) party, recalled the protests against Spanish police raids in the run-up to the 2017 referendum.

“It was not a tense situation,” said Solé. “I saw neither any attacks nor threats.”

 

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  • Former Catalan police director Albert Batlle (by Supreme Court)

  • Former Catalan police director Albert Batlle (by Supreme Court)