Former Catalan police chief leaves court without bail
Josep Lluís Trapero faces criminal charges of sedition for his role in the independence referendum
The former chief of the Catalan police, Josep Lluís Trapero, left the National Court in Madrid without bail on Friday. Trapero is under investigation for his role in Catalonia’s independence bid. He faces criminal charges for allegedly helping to facilitate the referendum on independence last October.
Trapero was in charge of the Mossos d’Esquadra, Catalonia’s own police force, during the crucial weeks that preceded and followed the October 1 vote. The referendum, which would subsequently lead to a declaration of independence, was deemed illegal by the Spanish judiciary. Spain’s National Court is investigating Trapero for allegedly failing to abide by court rulings ordering police to stop the vote.
Trapero told the judge that prior to the referendum he warned president Carles Puigdemont that the Mossos would not back the Catalan government if the push for independence continued, say investigation sources.
After a two-hour hearing, Spain's Attorney General requested bail of 50,000 euros for Trapero to avoid prison. However, the National Court decided to let him go free. In a previous hearing, the judge ordered his passport to be seized to make sure he could not leave the country.
Trapero gained prominence last August, when he led the Mossos crackdown on the jihadist group that carried out terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils. He was dismissed as the Mossos chief last October, when the Spanish government responded to the declaration of independence by imposing direct rule on Catalonia and dismissing all government members. While he still works for the Catalan police, he no longer holds any major responsibilities.
The Spanish colonel responsible for the police operation on referendum day, Diego Pérez de los Cobos, accused Trapero of conniving with the organizers of the referendum, and labeled the Mossos police operation to stop the vote “a fraud.”
In a parallel investigation, the Supreme Court charged 28 pro-independence leaders with the crime of rebellion for pursuing independence despite Spain’s opposition. In total, 12 people have been held behind bars at some point during the judicial process, and four of them are still in jail.