Oriol Junqueras opened the statements of the accused on the third sitting of the Catalan independence trial. Junqueras, who started by saying that he deems himself to be a political prisoner and that he therefore refuses to answer the questions of the prosecutions, has said that to vote is not a crime because it is not featured as such in the Criminal Code.
Conversely, he added, preventing people from voting through force is a crime. The republican politician has added that he has always shunned violence and that the prosecutions are arguing unfaithfully
After a 40 minute interruption, former vice-president of the Catalan government Oriol Junqueras retook his statement at half past twelve.
When asked by his counsel, Junqueras stated that he never knew about the document ENFOCATS, which is one of the main pieces of evidence of the prosecution:
"I became aware of it on the day the magistrate of the National Court ordered my imprisonment, I had never seen it nor heard about it before, I knew nothing about it and I do not know anyone who knew about it prior to 2 November, when our imprisonment was ordered."
"After that I obviously had the chance to read it because it was included in the case and, when I read it, I found it to be an extravagant and apocryphal document and; I insist, I do not know anybody who knew about it before it was included in the case."
The Virolai was sung on 20S
The former Catalan vice-president has stated that, on 20 September, during the Guardia Civil searches in the offices of the Catalan ministry of Economics, the crowd displayed a very peaceful attitude.
Junqueras said that he went there because he was in charge of that ministry, and he stated that the people gathered there even sang the Virolai:
"I remember that they were even handing out carnations, they were singing, and among many other songs they sang the Virolai; I do not know if you are familiar with it, but it is a religious hymn dedicated to the Mother of God which, among other verses, has a line that refers to Our Lady of Montserrat as the eastern star of the Spaniards."
Junqueras has stated that, despite the fact that it was impossible to drive vehicles down the road, there were no problems with the Guardia Civil entering and leaving the building.
Junqueras has stated that the referendum was not paid for with public funds and that the use of polling stations cannot be quantified monetarily:
"It did not cost the taxpayer a single cent. They contributed nothing to the holding of the referendum. Nothing at all."
"With regard to the polling stations, I believe it is self-evident that, by definition, public buildings cannot be leased, and that it is therefore impossible to calculate an alleged loss of income from something that cannot be leased."
The former Catalan vice-president described how he experienced the 1-O referendum:
"I saw it in the polling station where I went to vote in the first place and was unable to, because the police had formed a barrier and was letting no-one inside. I went to another station and saw people voting normally there."
"After that I saw, and everyone saw, and the international public opinion saw, and all the media reflected, the violence with which some members, obviously not all, fortunately, some members of the Guardia Civil and of the National Police behaved."
"It is obvious, it was seen on television screens the world over, how they struck people who were doing nothing, who were simply at the door of a polling station or inside it, how they jumped from stairs on people who were sitting beneath the stairs, etc."
With regard to the possibility that citizens may have responded with violence if there were conflicts on that day, Junqueras stated that everything pointed to the fact that it would not happen:
"If I may reflect on this from a scientific point of view, everything we knew, everything that had happened until then, was civil, peaceful, exemplary, respectful behaviour in all gatherings for years. The only thing to be expected was for this behaviour to be maintained, as it was indeed maintained. The people, the citizens who went to vote behaved strictly according to the criteria of pacifism, civility and non-violence."
"No-one responded to that violence"
On the contrary, the former vice-president of the Catalan government has stated that the police forces acted "to create a tense environment":
"Shutting down polling stations, and shutting them down in the way that they did and with the violence with which they shut them down, it is obvious that their intention was not to prevent people from voting, because they could vote anywhere else."
"The purpose of that violence was to create a tense environment in which, fortunately, as it had always been and it continued to be, it is obvious that nobody responded with the same violence, no-one, not at all."
- Catalan independence trial