Catalan leaders' defense teams claim independence trial is 'political'
Lawyers of jailed officials say Supreme Court is not impartial and call for their clients to be acquitted
The independence trial due to start on Tuesday in Spain's Supreme Court is a "political" trial in a court that is neither competent to try the case nor impartial, according to the defense lawyers of some of the Catalan leaders in the dock.
In a news conference on Monday, the lawyers of Oriol Junqueras, Raül Romeva, Jordi Cuixart, Josep Rull, Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Turull, and Carme Forcadell rejected the charges of rebellion and sedition against their clients and called for them to be acquitted.
Organized by the Òmnium Cultural pro-independence pressure group, whose president, Jordi Cuixart, is one of the leaders being prosecuted, the news conference in Madrid was attended by Catalan News along with journalists from 40 international media outlets.
"If international law were applied, Cuixart would be acquitted and released"
Olivier Peter · Lawyer
"If international law were applied, Cuixart would be acquitted and released," said defense lawyer Olivier Peter, who is representing the Òmnium president. "Convicting Cuixart is to ensure that Spain will be condemned by the European Court of Human Rights," he added.
As for lawyer Jordi Pina, who is defending Sànchez, Rull and Turull, he said "our great mission is to be able to say that putting a piece of paper in a ballot box cannot be considered a crime of rebellion or sedition."
Meanwhile, Olga Arderiu, the lawyer of former parliament speaker Carme Forcadell, said her client was being judged for her "capacity of leadership" and not for the facts, as other members of the parliamentary bureau have only been charged with disobedience.
Andreu van den Eynde, representing former ministers Junqueras and Romeva, insisted that the judiciary has made an "an artificial interpretation of the law," because the Spanish parliament decriminalized calling unauthorized referendums in 2005.
Lawyers denounce "inappropriate speed" of legal process
While the lawyers denied any interest in dragging out the trial, they regretted the "inappropriate speed" of the legal process, which they claim has infringed their clients' defense rights, and they argue that they should have been given more time to prepare.