Police chief and pro-independence groups leaders testify over sedition charges
Spanish Guardia Civil accuse police in Catalonia of “flagrant inaction” on referendum day, thus prompting their violent crackdown on voters
The Catalan police chief and leaders of pro-independence organizations are to appear before the Spanish National Court in Madrid on Monday to give testimony for a second time regarding sedition accusations. The initial investigation, focusing on demonstrations on September 20 and 21, has been extended to also include events during the October 1 referendum and the alleged “flagrant inaction” of Catalonia’s police corps, the Mossos d’Esquadra.
In a report sent to the judge, the Spanish Guardia Civil police accuses the Mossos of failing to stop the vote from taking place, thus prompting the intervention of Spanish law enforcement agencies. Their violent crackdown on referendum voters left 893 injured, according to the Catalan government.
"I am confident that tonight we'll sleep at home"
Jordi Sánchez · Catalan National Assembly president
The document states that individual officers are not to blame, and points instead at the Catalan police chief, Josep Lluís Trapero, who allegedly acted “in direct connection” with Catalan pro-independence leaders — such as the president and the vice president — as part of a “strategic committee” with the ultimate goal of declaring independence.
According to the report, this “committee” also included the the leaders of the two main pro-independence organizations: the president of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Jordi Sánchez, and the president of Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart. Sánchez and Cuixart are to appear in court alongside Trapero and Carmen Lamela, a deputy official of the Mossos.
On September 20, thousands of people in Barcelona protested against a major anti-referendum operation in which Guardia Civil police raided several Catalan government buildings and arrested 14 high-ranking officials. Sánchez and Cuixart called people to peacefully take to the streets to condemn the police operation.
Under Spanish criminal law, a sedition conviction carries jail sentences of between 4 and 15 years. According to article 544 of the Criminal Code, sedition charges may be attributed to those that rise up “publicly and tumultuously” to prevent the application of laws or the work of authorities “by force or illegally”.
They arrived in court before 10am. Catalan MPs and Senators cheered them as they entered the building, and chanted “You are not alone”. A second group of protesters booed them.