Week 3 of the Catalan Trial started on Tuesday with the testimony of the grassroots civic leader Jordi Cuixart, prosecuted for rebellion in the case.  He was the eleventh defendant to take the stand, and will precede the former parlament speaker, Carme Forcadell, who will put to an end the testimonies of the prosecuted leaders.

In his testimony, Jordi Cuixart has made a radical defence of the exercise of fundamental rights such as the freedom of expression and assembly, as well as the right to ptotest and dissent.  Cuixart also made clear that he is a political prisoner and that he is in jail because he decided to put those rights into practice.

Cuixart also defended the right to self-determination and said that the right to vote in Catalonia is achieved by voting. “What we did on October 1 [holding the referendum] was an exercise of collective dignity”, he added.

Cuixart was the president of the pro-independence civic organisation Òmnium during the 2017 peak of the Catalonia-Spain conflict, and he is still leading the association.

500 days in pre-trial jail

He has been incarcerated for 497 days pending his trial and is the only official to be judged who has never held any public post in politics, not even after the 2017 vote.

Along with Jordi Sànchez, Cuixart led a protest outside the Catalan economy department on September 20, 2017, as a response to Spanish police raids against the referendum organisation.

No-one was injured but the protest was considered a “tumultuous” one by Spain’s government and then judiciary, and Cuixart was charged with sedition, and then rebellion. The grassroots leader maintains all pro-independence demonstrations in that period were peaceful.