Catalan police chief to appear before Spanish court

Madrid, Oct 6 : The Catalan police chief will appear in a court here on Friday as part of a probe into alleged sedition against the state in the lead up to the region’s independence referendum which was deemed illegal by Spain.

The Mossos d’Esquadra forces, led by Major Josep Lluis Trapero, are facing accusations of not protecting members of the Spanish Civil Guard during a raid on the Catalan Finance Ministry prior to the referendum, reports Efe news.

The incidents took place on September 20 when a large group of people surrounded the building while Spanish police searched it for referendum material on a court order.

Apart from Trapero, the presidents of two of Catalonia’s most powerful pro-independence organisations, Jordi Sanchez of the Catalan National Assembly and Jordi Cuixart of Omnium Cultural, would also give statements.

National Court judge Carmen Lamela summoned the Catalan officials as part of an investigation into possible sedition, which is punishable by eight to 15 years in prison under Spanish law.

The prosecution is unlikely to ask for a prison sentence for the Mossos chief, though it will wait for his testimony to end before taking a decision on possible punitive measures, official sources told Efe.

The Mossos have already said that Trapero will say that the Catalan police strictly adhered to court orders and the state prosecutors in its actions regarding the referendum of October 1.

The presidents of the national assembly and the Ominum have also said they will testify.

Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will chair a cabinet meeting to discuss the next moves in the confrontation with Catalonia.

Organisers of the vote put the turnout at 42 per cent, with 2.2 million people taking part.


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