A Guardia Civil agent affirms pondering whether the Catalan Police had to assume "military defense" competencesAgent R77175H was responsible for the registration that intervened 10 million ballots on September 20 in Bigues i Riells
Josep Maria Camps
In the nineteenth session of the Catalan independence trial in the Supreme Court, more Guardia Civil agents who participated in the records and actions related to September 20 offered their testimony.
The session started at 9:30 AM with the witnesses who could not testify on tuesday due to the lack of time.
The first, identified under agent ID number R77175H, participated in the operation that seized 10 million ballots for the referendum on a Bigues i Riells warehouse, on September 20, 2017.
You can follow the statements of this Wednesday in this window:
The Mossos and the "military defense"
Asked by Supreme Court prosecutor Fidel Cadena, agent R77175H said that, in addition to the Bigues i Riells registry, he took part in other investigations related to the independence project.
Vox's lawyer and secretary general of the party, Javier Ortega Smith, asked him over the investigations related to competent authorities of the Catalan Police (Mossos d'Esquadra).
The agent ensured that, in an email of July 2017, the head of the criminal investigation police station, Rafael Comes, detailed to Major Trapero a "future scenario" in which the Catalan Police would assume more powers:
"Mention is made of a meeting in which 3 persons were present: Mr. César Puig, Secretary General of the Interior, Commissioner Rafael Comes, head of the technical media of the criminal investigation mission, and Mr. Salvadó. This latter says that two scenarios were discussed in the meeting: a present, over which he stated nothing whatsoever, and a future scenario in which they pondered the assumption of full powers such as police, customs control and investigation of money laundering, as well as fraud at international level to avoid capital flights from Catalonia."
Asked again by Ortega Smith, the witness stated that the government was studying the possibility of allowing the Catalan Police to assume "military defense" responsibilities:
Ortega Smith: "You referred to the fact that you are aware that in these investigations, defense competences were assigned to the Catalan Police. Is it a role equivalent to that of armed forces or police defense?"
Agent R77175H: "No. The paragraph is defense, we understand that it is military defense, not police defense."
Javier Ortega Smith, this Wednesday during his interrogation to agent R77175H in the Supreme Court
Agent R77175H made this statement based on a document prepared by Josep Lluís Salvadó in 2015. In reference to the email quoted by the Guardia Civil agent, the Secretary General of the Interior, César Puig, who was present at the aforementioned meeting in the mail, stated on TV3 that he was summoned by Josep Lluís Salvadó himself and that when he raised the hypothetical "future scenario", he suddenly finished the meeting because it was not a topic to be discussed in there.
E-mail from Rafael Comes to Major Trapero quoted by agent R77175H
Telephone tappings requested by the court 13 of Barcelona
At the beginning of the questionings of the prosecutor over September 20, agent R77175H explained that they arrived at the Bigues i Riells warehouses over the telephone tappings ordered by the Court 13 of Barcelona.
Specifically, a conversation between the General Director of the Generalitat's Heritage, Francisco Sutrias, and the Secretary of the Economy, Josep Maria Jové, brought them to Pau Furriol, and following up, they saw that he was with two women.
The tracking of one of them took them to the warehouses of Bigues i Riells. They asked for a court order, and on the morning of September 20, while there were about forty searches in progress, including the one at the Ministry of Economy, they entered the warehouses.
In warehouse number 18 they found many boxes full of ballots, as well as documentation with the logo of the Catalan Government (Generalitat) for the holding of the referendum:
"We approached the place, and each of the boxes, organized in piles, had a sign at the top with some annotations, which were the number of documents in each of those piles."
"We started to open envelopes, finding in them the header of the Generalitat, in brown color. Inside these envelopes, everything was perfectly organized, there was everything necessary to set up polling stations, voter participation, even the posters that were placed in the schools elections, where everything is put as shown in the record. I was the documentation to hold the referendum. "
The agent said that they found 6,000 "complete envelopes" with this documentation, among which, a specific envelope to send documents to an address of the Catalan Government.
The people gathered on September 20 in Bigues i Riells, sitting to prevent the pass of vehicles of the Guardia Civil
Protesters did not want to let them go
According to what the witness explained, while they were doing the registration a crowd reaching about 300 people and organized by a young man among them gathered beyond the police cordon:
"The sergeant detected the presence of a group of young people, between 20 and 25 years old, among which one of them stood out, because he was giving instructions on how to organize themselves to prevent us from leaving the area at the time of registration."
"The information the sergeant gave me was that they were talking on what they would do: whenever they saw we were going to leave, they would sit on the floor, grab their arms together and block our exit."
According to what agent R77175H explained, around 2 in the afternoon they finished the registration and left in two cars along with both the court clerk and with the public lawyer, but it was not easy, because the people gathered under a "totally hostile" attitude did not want to let them pass.
The agent said that they tried to drivethe 8 vans loaded with the electoral material against the driving direction to avoid the people gathered, but it took 3 hours, until 5 o'clock in the afternoon, because they did not let them pass.
He explained that two big men stretched out on the street so that the vans couldn't pass, and finally a patrol of the Mossos spoke with the young man who seemed to organize the rally and they managed to march among the people, who hit the vehicles while they were leaving.
The agent said that since they saw the concentration of people they asked for help from the Catalan Police, and complained because they did not send no riot police units, but only a security patrol one.
Quim Torra, in Bigues and Riells
To questions of the public prosecutor, agent R77175H said that one of the people who saw in the surroundings of the warehouses the days prior to the searches was the current president of the Catalan Government, Quim Torra:
"For the surveillance carried out at the warehouses, there were a number of people the days prior to the entry and registration that stood out to our sight, all of them are included in the police proceedings. Among them, there was Mr. Sutrias, Mrs. Mercedes, the current president of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, the deputy ... I don't remember the names, but there were several deputies, a deputy from Tarragona ... All of their names are included in the police proceedings, there were people who came and went with a box. You could just see them when surveilling "
The lawyer of Vox asked him if the people gathered used tactics of "urban guerrilla", and the president of the court, Manuel Marchena, unauthorized him:
Ortega Smith: "Throughout the concentration, in the actions of which you were aware, could you say that the type of action was war, urban guerrilla action?"
Marchena: "Let's see, it would be necessary to establish the concept of "guerrilla." Consequently, we must avoid valuation, or describe it, if you consider it appropriate to continue insisting on the description, but the conclusion about whether it was another type of action..."
- Catalan independence trial