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Catalan leader defends push for independence on final day of trial

The previous Catalan vice-president Oriol Junqueras has used the remaining day of landmark complaints towards him and 11 different separatist leaders to protect the failed push for regional independence but additionally to plead for a political technique to the disaster.

The trial, which has lasted 4 months and heard testimony from 422 witnesses, has tested the occasions main as much as the unilateral independence referendum on 1 October 2017 and the Catalan parliament’s next declaration of independence.

9 of the 12 defendants – who come with Junqueras; the previous speaker of the Catalan parliament Carme Forcadell; and two influential grassroots activists, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez – are accused of riot, which carries a jail sentence of as much as 25 years.

Different fees come with sedition and the misuse of public price range.

Addressing the judges on the splendid courtroom in Madrid on Wednesday afternoon, Junqueras stated: “Balloting, or protecting the republic in parliament, can not represent a criminal offense. Relating to human rights and elementary freedoms, having the desire to speak, to barter, to seek out settlement, must by no means be a criminal offense.”

He stated that even supposing he understood the courtroom had a choice to make, the Catalan query required a political, reasonably than judicial, resolution.

“I actually consider that the most efficient factor for all folks – for Catalonia, for Spain, for everybody – can be to peer this factor returned to the sector of politics – just right politics – a space it must by no means have left,” he stated.

Closing week, the state prosecutor described the rush for secession as a coup d’etat supposed to “overturn, droop the charter utterly or in part, and claim the independence of 1 a part of the nationwide territory”.

Alternatively, defence legal professionals have rejected such arguments, stating that underneath Spanish regulation, riot comes to “revolting violently and publicly”.

Junqueras’ legal professional, Andreu Van den Eynde, instructed the courtroom on Tuesday that whilst there can have been “disobedience”, there were no riot.

“Speaking a couple of coup d’etat is complicated disobedience with riot,” he stated. The offence of disobedience carries a advantageous and a ban from retaining public place of job, however no longer a prison time period.

The case has centred at the referendum, which was once held in defiance of the then govt of the conservative top minister Mariano Rajoy, and of the rustic’s charter, which is based at the “indissoluble team spirit of the Spanish country”.

Polling day was once marred via a heavy-handed and violent reaction from one of the nationwide and Guardia Civil law enforcement officials who were deployed to the realm prior to the vote.

Poll bins have been forcibly seized, electorate have been dragged out of polling stations and hit with batons, and rubber bullets have been fired.

Showing as a witness in February, Rajoy blamed the violence at the Catalan government.

“In the event that they hadn’t known as folks to vote in an unlawful referendum and hadn’t made choices that broke the regulation, neither you nor I might have needed to see the wounds that some folks and a few participants of the protection forces had,” he instructed the courtroom.

The trial has additionally centered at the occasions of 20 September 2017, when police raided Catalan regional govt workplaces and arrested 14 senior officers in an try to head off the vote.

The raids introduced 1000’s of Catalans out to protest. Guardia Civil officials discovered themselves trapped within the constructions they have been looking out and 3 in their cars have been vandalised.

The state prosecutor, Javier Zaragoza, stated such behaviour constituted “bodily, compulsive and intimidatory violence”.

He added: “The violent nature of an rebellion does no longer imply there needs to be both critical or armed violence.”

The previous Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, who led the rush for regional independence, isn’t amongst the ones on trial. He fled Spain to keep away from arrest in a while on the finish of October 2017 and resides in self-imposed exile in Belgium.

Manuel Marchena, the chairman of the seven judges listening to the case, refused a request for Puigdemont to look as a witness within the complaints. “He can’t be a defendant within the morning and a witness within the afternoon,” stated Marchena.

Despite the fact that the trial section is over, verdicts and sentences aren’t anticipated till the fall. The defendants have already stated they are going to attraction to the Eu courtroom of human rights if important.

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