Jailed Catalan leaders arrive at courthouse for independence trial
Trial to start in Spain’s Supreme Court at 10am
The jailed Catalan pro-independence leaders have already arrived to the Madrid courthouse where they are set to stand trial for the referendum organized and held in 2017.
This is the first of many trips that those prosecuted and incarcerated will be making daily from their cells to the Supreme Court, for a trial set to be long and complex, starting on Tuesday, February 12, at 10am.
What will be judged is the whole independence bid, which the public prosecutor claims all started in 2012 with a preconceived plan.
The sessions will revolve around some major events during that time, including the October 1, 2017 referendum and a subsequent declaration of independence, all deemed as illegal by Spain.
In total, twelve people will face trial for their role in the independence bid, some of whom are accused of violent rebellion—one of the most serious offenses in Spain's criminal code.
All the Catalan government members during the referendum who did not go into exile—like Carles Puigdemont, the then president—will go before 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.
"After 15 months in pre-trial jail, the trial starts today," said Forn via Twitter on Tuesday. Incarcerated on November 2, 2017, he is one of the defendants who has spent more time in prison.
Després de 15 mesos de presó preventiva, avui comença el judici.— Joaquim Forn (@quimforn) February 12, 2019
Arriba el moment de la veritat. Hi anem amb el cap ben alt, convençuts de la nostra innocència i de la legitimitat de les nostres accions. Sabem per què som aquí i no claudicarem ni renunciarem a res.#Absolució pic.twitter.com/rvkLWq5HpL
"The trial starting today will show the truth to the world. Help each other, stay united and be brave. We feel strong and we won't give up," said Junqueras, the most prominent pro-independence leader to face trial.
The parliament speaker during that period, Carme Forcadell, will also face trial, as will the two leaders of the main pro-independence civil organizations on September 20, 2017, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart.
"Time to wake up in Soto [del Real prison] cell number 12," said Cuixart via Twitter. "Today starts the trial against democracy in [Spain's] Supreme Court: 16 months later, my pride in leading Òmnium and our collective honor remain intact."
Missatge des de la presó:— Jordi Cuixart (@jcuixart) February 12, 2019
Hora de llevar-se a la cel·la 12 de Soto. Comença el #JudiciALaDemocràcia al Suprem: 16 mesos després, amb l’orgull de presidir @omnium i la dignitat col·lectiva intactes#JoAcuso
They have all been in pre-trial prison at some point–most of them for a year or more.
The independence trial could have major political consequences for the troubled relationship between Catalonia and Spain. The current Catalan president, Quim Torra—who arrived in the Supreme Court on Tuesday to follow the trial's opening sessions—hinted at the possibility of calling a new independence vote should Catalan leaders be convicted.