Meritxell Borràs: "No public funds were used for the referendum"The former Catalan minister of the Interior has stated in the Catalan independence trial that they acted "with the will to reach an agreement with the Spanish government"
Former Catalan minister of the Interior, Meritxell Borràs, has denied that any public money was allotted to the referendum. Borràs said so several times in the fifth sitting of the trial when questioned by prosecutor Jaime Moreno:
"My department did not use a single Euro for the referendum, and I believe that no other department did so either."
"No public funds were used for the referendum; this was the clear will of the Catalan government."
Borràs has added that her department was not charged with carrying out "any actions related to the referendum."
Questioning of the former Catalan minister began a few minutes after 7 PM in an extended sitting in which the pro-independence prisoners got up at 6 AM and were brought from prison before 8.
Throughout Wednesday former Catalan minister of the Territory Josep Rull was questioned during the morning, former Catalan minister of Labour Dolors Bassa took the stand in the afternoon, before Borràs. The Court has squeezed former Catalan minister of Justice Carles Mundó after her.
Of all the accused, only Borràs, Mundó and Santi Vila are not on remand. ,
The Constitutional Court, "politicised"
Borràs, who answered the questions of both the State Attorney General and the Government Attorney's Office, also defended that to carry on with the referendum was a mandate of Parliament, and she opposed this mandate to the resolution of a "politicised" Constitutional Court:
"There was the democratic mandate of Parliament. on the other hand, I would not to devalue the Constitutional Court. I do not despise it, not at all, but it is also true that, over the last few years, this Constitutional Court had become politicised."
"I felt that I had to be loyal to the mandate of the Parliament of Catalonia, which was democratically elected and gave us this mandate through its absolute majority."
She also pointed out that she signed the decree calling for the referendum as a political commitment:
"I will not devalue this signature, because I signed it, but the signatures that are necessary for a decree are those of the president and the Catalan minister of the matter in question."
"My signature was not necessary, but for us all to sign it was a gesture, or a symbol, to state that we were responding to this will and to the commitment we had as a government before the mandate of Parliament."
Later on, answering Government Attorney Rosa María Seoane, she added that they always acted with the goal of reaching an agreement with the Spanish government:
"I also knew that a referendum is not a crime in Spain and, therefore, I understood it as being a part of a political conflict and did so with the will of reaching an agreement with the Spanish government.
All of the actions of the government of Catalonia were carried out with the intention of reaching an agreement with the Spanish government, taking into account that there was a mandate of Parliament through absolute majority.
The will of our actions was always to solve a political question through dialogue and politics."
The former Catalan minister agreed with Dolors Bassa, who made her statement before her, also on Wednesday afternoon, on the fact that the declaration of independence was only a "political expression."
"We read what would be the preamble, which compelled nothing and established nothing.
It was a political expression without legal consequences."
An emotional moment
Borràs could not hold back her tears and became emotional when her defence counsel, Judit Gené, reminded her that, on September 2017, she could not be notified of the warning of the Constitutional Court as she could not attend meetings due to the passing of her father.
(Gené) -Do you remember what affected you personally on 12 September 2017? Why were you not in the government committees on these days and what were these difficulties?
(Borràs) -I didn't remember.
(Gené) -Would you explain to the court if you were not where you were supposed to be due to a desertion or for any other reason?
(Borràs) - I was not in the government on that day... My father had passed away the day before.
Judge Marchena offered to pause the questioning, but Borràs said she could carry on.
Asking for 7 and 24 years in prison
Both the State Attorney General and the Government Attorney's Office are asking for 7 years in prison for Borràs on the charges of misuse of public funds and disobedience. The State Attorney General is also asking for a 30,000 Euro fine. The popular prosecution Vox, on the other hand, adds criminal organisation to the charges, raising its request to 24 years.
Borràs was imprisoned from 2 November to 4 December 2017.
- Catalan independence trial