Twelve separatist leaders on trial over their position in Catalonia’s failed 2017 independence bid have given defiant last statements in Madrid.
On the final day of proceedings after 4 months of hearings, the defendants mentioned they had been victims of an injustice in a trial constructed on “false” prices.
A number of the leaders of the Spanish area are accused of revolt and sedition and will withstand 25 years in jail if discovered responsible.
A verdict just isn’t anticipated for months.
After an October 2017 Catalan referendum, declared unlawful by Spain’s courts, Catalonia’s separatist leaders declared independence.
The best-ranking pro-independence chief on trial, former Catalan vice-president Oriol Junqueras, is accused of revolt together with eight others. He could possibly be given as much as 25 years in jail however was elected to the European Parliament final month.
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Beneath Spanish legislation, the cost of revolt entails a public violent rebellion – one thing the 12 defendants deny ever occurred.
The defendants argue their declaration of independence was aimed toward implementing the democratic will of Catalans following an unauthorised referendum.
The Catalan disaster is seen as essentially the most severe for Spain because the loss of life of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975 and the nation’s transition to democracy.
What occurred in courtroom?
The defendants had been every given 15 minutes to current their last arguments to prosecutors, 5 months after the trial had begun.
Mr Junqueras instructed the courtroom whereas he might have made errors, his actions had demonstrated his dedication to democracy and social concord.
“Voting and defending the republic from a parliament can’t be against the law,” he mentioned.
Earlier than the session started, a senior justice official really helpful that Mr Junqueras be quickly launched from custody on 17 June to be sworn in as an MEP. The solicitor common mentioned the choice was as much as electoral authorities.
Activist and former president of the Catalan Nationwide Meeting Jordi Sànchez used his time to argue he was the “sufferer of an injustice”, including: “There are not any concepts or rules that must be silenced.”
Carme Forcadell, former speaker of the Catalan parliament, mentioned the intense prices in opposition to her had been “false” and that she hoped to return to politics following the decision.
Defence attorneys earlier mentioned throughout closing arguments that their purchasers all denied the costs of revolt and sedition, however admitted to the lesser cost of disobedience, which might see them banned from public workplace however keep away from jail.
Who else is on trial?
One other distinguished determine in courtroom on Wednesday was Jordi Cuixart, president of Catalan language and tradition organisation Omnium Cultural.
The remaining defendants are:
- Joaquim Forn, former inside minister
- Jordi Turull, former Catalan authorities spokesman
- Raül Romeva, former exterior relations minister
- Dolors Bassa, former labour minister
- Josep Rull, former territorial minister
- Carles Mundó, former justice minister
- Meritxell Borràs, former governance minister
- Santi Vila, former enterprise minister
Carles Puigdemont, the previous Catalan president, escaped trial after fleeing Spain in late October 2017 earlier than he could possibly be arrested, together with 4 others.
What are the accusations?
Prosecutors argue that the defendants’ unilateral declaration of independence was an assault on the Spanish state and have accused a few of these concerned of a severe act of revolt.
There’s additionally an accusation of misuse of public funds, in organising a referendum declared unlawful by Spain’s Constitutional Court docket.
Prosecutors say the leaders carried out a “completely deliberate technique… to interrupt the constitutional order and acquire the independence of Catalonia” illegally.
Ms Forcadell, who learn out the independence consequence on 27 October 2017, is accused of permitting parliamentary debates on independence regardless of warnings from Spain’s Constitutional Court docket.
A number of the accused, chatting with the BBC forward of the trial, mentioned the proceedings had been political in nature. Any violence, they mentioned, was on the a part of police and was dedicated in opposition to voters in a crackdown which made headlines around the globe.
9 of the defendants have spent months in pre-trial detention. The remaining three had been launched on bail.
What’s behind the Catalonia controversy?
Three weeks after the banned vote on 1 October 2017, the Catalan parliament declared an unbiased republic.
Madrid stepped in to impose its rule on the area, and a number of other Catalan leaders fled or had been arrested.
Catalan nationalists have lengthy complained that their area, which has a definite historical past courting again virtually 1,000 years, sends an excessive amount of cash to poorer components of Spain, as taxes are managed by Madrid.
The rich area is residence to about 7.5 million individuals, with their very own language, parliament, flag and anthem.