Key witnesses called for Catalan trial during Sant Jordi Festival

Court proceedings will continue on St. George's Day – a big event in Catalonia

Sant Jordi is one of the most important Catalan festivals
Sant Jordi is one of the most important Catalan festivals / Daniel Wittenberg

Daniel Wittenberg | Barcelona

March 31, 2019 04:20 PM

Key protagonists in the build-up to the independence referendum have been summoned to the Spanish Supreme Court for one of the most important days in the Catalan calendar.

Though not a public holiday, Diada de Sant Jordi (St. George's Day in England) is a major festival in Catalonia, equivalent to Valentine's Day, albeit with greater cultural significance.

Rather than swapping books and roses, as is customary on April 23, senior Catalan officials will be spending the holiday in Madrid, answering questions from the witness stand.

Catalan vice-president and finance minister Pere Aragonès, former treasury minister Lluís Salvadó and Lieutenant Teresa Laplana of the Catalan police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra, are among the names listed in the provisional trial schedule for the month of April.

The trio is expected to be asked about the Spanish police operation in the finance ministry ten days before the referendum, intended to prevent the public vote from taking place. Lieutenant Laplana is being investigated for sedition at the national court for the part she played.

Catalan cabinet ministers who resigned before the referendum, Jordi Jané, Jordi Baiget and Meritxell Ruiz, are also lined up to appear on Sant Jordi, as well as Albert Batlle, the former director of the Mossos d'Esquadra, now a candidate in the May local elections.

The declarations will take place five days before the Spanish general election on April 28, prompting concerns over the politicization of the trial, which will also continue during Easter Week, with sessions on the Monday afternoon, Tuesday and Wednesday.