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Independence trial week 5 – Catalan police on the spotlight

Former police chief Trapero and Junqueras’ right-hand man to give their testimonies on Thursday

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11 March 2019 03:13 PM

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ACN | Madrid

The role of the Catalan police during the independence referendum is set to be in the spotlight in the fifth week of the trial against officials who called the vote despite Spain’s opposition.

Josep Lluís Trapero, the former chief of Catalonia’s police body, the Mossos d’Esquadra, has been summoned to speak in Spain’s Supreme in Court on Thursday afternoon, in what is set to be one of the most crucial testimonies in the Catalan independence trial.

Trapero is under investigation in a separate case, accused of not doing enough to stop the vote, which had been deemed as illegal by Spanish courts.

On Monday, former Mossos officials stressed that the Catalan police urged the government to call off the referendum.

“We couldn't treat it like a normal election, because it was a forbidden political activity,” said Emili Quevedo, former head of security.

Guardia Civil officers speak as testimonies

Two Spanish Guardia Civil officers will take to the stand on Tuesday, including the policeman who made some key reports used in the independence trial.

The testimonies of Spanish police officers could shed some light on the operation to stop the referendum, which left more than a thousand people injured, according to Catalan government figures.

Foreign affairs officials and international observers

On Wednesday morning, the role of Catalonia’s foreign affairs ministry during the independence bid will be under scrutiny, with former officials expected to give their testimony.

Witnesses include Albert Royo, the former head of the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (DIPLOCAT), as well as Amadeu Altafaj, the former representative of the Catalan government in Brussels.

In the afternoon, the head of an international team of experts charged with overviewing the referendum, Helena Catt, will speak as witness.

Assessing the political impact of the referendum, she said that "the results must be taken into account in the international community,” but described the vote as a “political mobilization.”

Junqueras right-hand man to speak on Thursday

Along with Trapero, the key witness on Thursday will be Josep Maria Jové, the right-hand man of the Catalan vice president in 2017. He is thought to have had a leading role in the preparations for the independence vote.

Jové was arrested in a series of police raids on September 20, 2017, sparking a wave of protests in Barcelona.

A notebook allegedly seized during the operation became a crucial piece of evidence for prosecutors investigating a “strategic committee" encompassing politicians and activists—many of whom are sitting in the dock as defendants—and which aimed to achieve Catalan independence.

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  • Former Catalan police chief Josep Lluís Trapero (left) arrives in Spain's National Court (by ACN)

  • Former Catalan police chief Josep Lluís Trapero (left) arrives in Spain's National Court (by ACN)