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Supreme Court to call Mariano Rajoy as witness in independence trial

Judges to summon former Spanish president to testify but rule out calling on exiled leader Carles Puigdemont and King Felipe

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24 January 2019 08:06 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

 

The Supreme Court will call former Spanish president Mariano Rajoy to give evidence in the upcoming trial of pro-independence leaders, but will not call on former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont or former Esquerra party head, Marta Rovira, both of whom are in exile.

Reported by 'El Español' digital newspaper and confirmed by the Catalan News Agency (ACN), sources in the court also say that King Felipe VI will in turn not be called on to testify, as the law exempts the monarch from having to act as a witness.

The seven judges who will oversee the trial of Catalan leaders accused of rebellion, sedition, and misuse of public funds for organizing the 2017 independence bid are expected to complete their pre-trial deliberations next week, with the trial due to start on February 5.

Rajoy to give evidence for second time

The former Spanish president's appearance at the trial will be the second time Rajoy has been called as a witness in a major trial, after he gave evidence on July 26, 2017, when he was still in office, for the Gürtel corruption case.

The court has rejected calling Puigdemont and Rovira as witnesses, as demanded by some of the defenses because they are among the leaders being prosecuted, which the judges consider to be incompatible with them giving evidence.   

The judges also rule out calling on People's Party spokesman, Ignacio Cosidó, as demanded by the defenses of some jailed leaders. Cosidó was at the center of a controversy over leaked messages casting doubt on the neutrality of the Spanish judiciary, but the court considers his case to have little to do with the upcoming trial.

 

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  • Former Spanish president Mariano Rajoy speaking as a witness in the Gürtel case at the National Court on July 26 2017 (by ACN/EFE)

  • Former Spanish president Mariano Rajoy speaking as a witness in the Gürtel case at the National Court on July 26 2017 (by ACN/EFE)