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Quim Torra was 'in and out' of warehouse where ballot papers were seized, says Guardia Civil officer

Spanish police officers continued to give testimony on Wednesday in the Supreme Court in trial of Catalan independence leaders

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20 March 2019 03:17 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Another 10 Guardia Civil officers were due to give testimony in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, with the first of them describing how police seized ballot papers and documents detailing plans for independence in raids carried out in the days before the referendum.

The officer took part in a raid of a warehouse in Bigues i Riells, where Guardia Civil police seized 10 million ballot papers. He also said the current Catalan president, Quim Torra, at that time an activist, was in and out of the warehouse in the days before the raid.

"Attitude of protesters totally hostile"

In his testimony, the officer also described how protesters outside threw bottles and cans and "blockaded the police vehicles" when they tried to leave. "The attitude of the protesters was totally hostile. We were confiscating their ballot papers for the referendum," he said.

However, the witness also admitted that "fortunately there were no personal injuries" during the protests and that the main outcome was "damage to vehicles."

Referring to documents seized in other raids, the officer said one mentioned setting up an intelligence agency, while others expressed "concerns" about the role of the Catalan police during the independence bid, or argued the need for "unilateral" secession from Spain.

Later during the officer's testimony, the defense objected that the police officers were giving testimony about events that the defense was not aware they had taken part in, and therefore did not provide enough time for them to prepare their cross-examination.

Email of minister to trade union leader intercepted

The second officer to take the stand spoke about emails of Catalan officials intercepted by the police, such as a message from former labor minister Dolors Bassa informing a union leader to tell workers they had permission to leave work so as to vote in the referendum.

The officer also said there were protesters outside the labor ministry when the police raided it, and that the officers were subject to verbal insults shouted by the crowd.

No referendum-related emails on Cuixart's account

A colleague of this witness testified that no emails related to the referendum were found on jailed activist Jordi Cuixart's email account. 

Children 'at the front' of the protest

Another of the six officers who testified on the morning session of the trial, explained that they intercepted some conversations between Catalan police officers on the referendum day, including one in which they wanted to make a pathway for the Spanish law enforcement in order to reach ballot boxes, but they would be screwed on. Also that "they would place children at the front" of the protest.

He also said the instructions Catalan officers received were to avoid being filmed next to Spanish police during their operation on referendum day.

"Violent scenarios" mentioned in Sànchez's emails

The Guardia Civil officer who examined the email inbox of the former head of the Catalan National Assembly, Jordi Sànchez, admitted in the Supreme Court that the activist turned politician didn't send any message inciting violence.

The witness recalled a message Sànchez received mentioning "violent scenarios" caused by "the far-right and pro-independence armed groups," but later clarified that out of 22 messages included in the case from Sànchez's inbox, none were sent by him.

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