Helena Catt denies that the task she did for Diplocat was "electoral observation"The international experts' spokeswoman admits that Diplocat paid her, though she also states that they only undertook a "research project" of the situation in Catalonia
Helena Catt testifying before the Supreme Court, accompanied by the interpreter who carried out the consecutive translation.
The spokesperson of the team of international experts who was in Catalonia on October 1, Helena Catt, explained to the Supreme Court that they were not entrusted with observing the referendum, but a broader project of analysis from a historical perspective:
"The observation of the consultation was not the purpose, we were hired to do an investigative report, to study everything that happened, and, since voting was one of the things that happened, we had to cover it."
"We were hired by the Diplocat for research activities regarding what was happening at that time in Catalonia, from a historical perspective."
Catt, an expert in electoral processes, explained that in October 2017 she was the spokesperson of an international team of experts hired by Diplocat to investigate what was happening in Catalonia. This team worked between July and October, and she was physically in Catalonia from September 4 to October 6 of that year.
In response to the defenses, Catt stressed that she did not act as an observer of the referendum:
"Not at all, we carried out a research project. The main purpose of an observation mission is to make a final verdict on whether the vote was fair and if the result is valid. We were never asked to develop a validation of this result, the fact that we were present at the referendum does not make our work there an observation mission."
Her testimony has been requested by the Office of the Prosecutor and the State Attorney. The prosecutor, Consuelo Madrigal, asked if they included in the final report, which they delivered in mid-October, the fact that the Constitutional Court had suspended the referendum and the laws protecting it. Catt answered affirmatively:
"We were aware of all the court orders that had been issued for that purpose. Unfortunately I can not give you the details because I do not remember them."
The prosecutor asked her if they included any reference to September 20, a question to which she answered by saying: "I do not know what happened on September 20".
When Madrigal tried to refresh her memory by talking about "disorderly conduct" or "significant episodes", Catt responded that they described "the whole context of what was happening" and that she did not want to "make an excessive effort to remember because she could remember it wrongly."
Paid by Diplocat
Catt explained that Diplocat paid her salary, which amounted to 8,000 euros, and the expenses of acommodation and maintenance:
"I invoiced my salary and the expenses were invoiced by the previous head of the group, paid by Diplocat by bank transfer."
She also added that she believes everyone collected the agreed amounts. "I think everyone got paid in October," she concluded.
This international expert has admitted meetings with the former Councilor Raül Romeva and with the former Secretary General of the Diplocat Albert Royo. He said he did not have any list of the people he met while he was in Catalonia, but he did it with everyone who asked for it. It was not the case of the delegation of the Spanish government:
"I did not have meetings with the Spanish government delegation, I only met with those people who wanted to meet with us."
- Catalan independence trial