In October 2019, hefty jail terms were handed to nine Catalan politicians and activists that Spanish prosecutors hold responsible for the independence bid in 2017. Yet, the judicial after effects of the October 1 independence referendum has, in some ways, only just got started, and next in the dock will be the top officials who at the time of the bid were in charge of the Catalan Mossos d’Esquadra police.
The trial of the former Catalan police leadership, which is accused of colluding in the attempts to bring about an independent Catalonia, began on Monday, January 20, in Spain’s National Court in Madrid, with all eyes on former police chief, Josep Lluis Trapero.
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Trapero faces 11 years in prison
Trapero, who at the time was the highest ranking police officer until he was removed from his post on October 28 after the government in Madrid imposed direct rule on Catalonia, is accused of rebellion and is facing a potential 11 years in prison.
The trial is expected to go on until March 19, and sitting in the dock alongside Trapero will be the former political heads of the Mossos police, Pere Soler and César Puig, as well as another high-ranking police officer, Teresa Laplana, who is charged with sedition.
While the other former officials are charged with rebellion, the public prosecutor has not ruled out lowering the charge to sedition, especially after the Supreme Court found the independence leaders guilty of sedition rather than rebellion in October.
Guardia Civil chief, the first witness
The witnesses testimony began on February 3, with Diego Pérez de los Cobos, the paramilitary Guardia Civil colonel who oversaw the police operation for the October 1 referendum and who has accused the Mossos of defying the court order to prevent it.
However, the next day, Trapero’s second in command at the time, Ferrán López, who was appointed by the Spanish government to take over from his former boss, will argue that the Mossos complied with the court order, and did so with the blessing of De los Cobos.
Some 112 witnesses will testify, including police officers, politicians and some of the independence leaders convicted in October. Yet, it is thought that former vice president Oriol Junqueras and former interior minister Joaquim Forn will not appear until the end of the trial.
Jailed former pro-independence activist, Jordi Sánchez, will also be summoned to give evidence in the middle of proceedings , as will former Catalan president, Artur Mas, towards the end.