Court investigators and police testify in ongoing trial of Catalan separatist leaders

  • The Supreme Court quizzed witnesses this week about events on 20 September and 1 October 2017

After the twelve on trial testified in the first week and national politicians in the second, this week has focused on senior public officials who were involved in reacting to events around the illegal declaration of independence in Catalonia in autumn 2017.

On Wednesday, trial judges heard from the court secretary who went with Guardia Civil officers to search the regional finance ministry on 20 September 2017. During that search, she was trapped in the building for 15 hours as a large, organised crowd blocked the entrance, damaging police vehicles.

The court official told the Supreme Court in Madrid that she had felt threatened by the thousands outside the building and had to escape over rooftops with police once she had finished her work.

She had been looking for evidence of illegal funding for the planned independence referendum and the alleged violence outside was a main reason leading to a charge of sedition against some of the accused. The Mossos d'Esquadra regional police force was also criticised for supposedly doing little to help the Guardia Civil and the secretary.

The Guardia Civil colonel in charge of trying to stop public buildings being used for the illegal referendum on 1 October 2017 also testified this week, saying he felt "conned" by the regional-controlled police who allegedly colluded behind his back to help the referendum take place.