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Judge investigating part of independence case dies at 71

Inquiry included officials and businesses that allegedly contributed to organizing the October 1 referendum


04 November 2018 11:50 AM


ACN | Barcelona

The judge leading the inquiry in one of the branches of the judicial independence case died at 71 on Sunday.

Juan Antonio Ramírez Sunyer, leading judge of Barcelona’s local court number 13 passed away due to an illness, according to the Spanish high court in Catalonia (TSJC).

The inquiry he was conducting consisted of the referendum organization, and included an investigation to several heads of businesses that allegedly contributed to organize the vote (mainly printing and shipping firms) and high-ranking Catalan officials, such as the former government permanent representative in the EU, Amadeu Altafaj, and the former chief of Diplocat public diplomacy council, Albert Royo.

Ramírez Sunyer's court was the first one investigating the referendum even before it took place and ordered several raids to the headquarters of pro-independence civic organizations and the Catalan government IT center. 

This court also ordered the multiple raids to Catalan government buildings on September 20, 2017, which prompted spontaneous demonstrations in Barcelona center -and led to the precautionary imprisonment of two grassroots leaders for allegedly organizing them. They have been in pre-trial jail for over a year now. 

Overall some forty people are investigated by this court, but this inquiry does not include the former government, parliament bureau and grassroots leaders, which are being prosecuted by the Supreme Court in Madrid.

Spain’s National Court is in charge of the Catalan police former leadership, including major Trapero.

Now another judge will be appointed to lead the part of the investigation led until now by Ramírez Sunyer, and some sources claim that this might imply delays in the inquiry and trial against these officials.


  • Image of Barcelona's justice neighborhood, in January 2018 (by Gemma Sánchez)

  • Image of Barcelona's justice neighborhood, in January 2018 (by Gemma Sánchez)