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Referendum leaders' lawyers denounce 'violation of right to defense' in court

Defenses request "nullity" of proceedings on first day of trial

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12 February 2019 06:15 PM

by

ACN | Madrid

The trial of Catalan independence leaders has begun. From Tuesday, February 12, and for the next few months, 12 leading politicians and activists will be tried for calling a referendum and declaring Catalan independence in 2017, despite opposition from the authorities in Madrid.

The first session was for the defendants' lawyers to make preliminary statements. They denounced the "violation of right to defense" and some lawyers requested the "nullity" of the proceedings. 

"Case represents suspension of political rights"

“This case is punishing political dissidence," said former vice president Oriol Junqueras and former minister Raül Romeva's lawyer Andreu Van den Eynde, speaking in the courtroom on Tuesday. "This case represents a general and improper suspension of political rights, contravening Spain's Constitutional Court's case-law."

"I ask for the trial be temporarily suspended due to the violation of the right to defense, as the defense teams don't have access to all the evidence admitted by the Supreme Court," said Jordi Pina, lawyer of Jordi Turull, Josep Rull, and Jordi Sànchez.

The lawyer of Joaquim Forn, Xavier Melero, denounced his client being tried at the Supreme Court while the Catalan police leadership faces trial at Spain's National Court. "Mr Forn is not here as a mere member of the Catalan government. He is here because he is thought to have had the capacity to control the Catalan police."

The lawyer of Jordi Cuixart and Carme Forcadell believe there is evidence to request the "nullity" of the trial. 

Who is facing court and why?

All the Catalan government members during the referendum who did not go into exile—like Carles Puigdemont, the then president— are facing the judges. That is former vice president Oriol Junqueras, and former ministers Josep Rull, Jordi Turull, Dolors Bassa, Raül Romeva, Joaquim Forn, Meritxell Borràs, Carles Mundó and Santi Vila.

The former Catalan parliament speaker, Carme Forcadell, and activists Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez are also prosecuted for this cause. 

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  • Image of the Supreme Court courtroom, where the independence trial is being held (by Pool EFE)

  • Image of the Supreme Court courtroom, where the independence trial is being held (by Pool EFE)

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