Trapero states that the court secretary could safely leave through the door of the Economy buildingDuring the Trial, the Major of the Catalan police has stated that he was permanently in touch with the Guardia Civil
One of the most widely anticipated witnesses in the Catalan independence trial has taken the stand on Wednesday: Catalan regional police Major Josep Lluís Trapero, who is breaking silence after months. Trapero has opened his statement by saying that he would answer questions. He was entitled not to do so due to the fact that he also stands accused of rebellion before the National Court.
He stated that, on 20 S, the chief magistrate of Court number 13 only called him once and did not identify himself as such but rather as a duty magistrate, and that he told him that the court secretary of the Barcelona-based court, Montserrat del Toro, could not leave the building. He admitted that this "surprised him" because it was "not his perception" nor did it "match" the one they "had in the CECOR" Communications Centre.
A safe exit through the main entrance of the Economy building: the two cordons
In any event, he stated that they guaranteed a safe exit through the main door of the Ministry of the Economy. For this purpose they began to establish a volunteer cordon and, within it, they intended to create another cordon with between 15 and 20 plainclothed agents who were already inside the Ministry, as well as BRIMO agents in order to protect the judiciary committee and avoid any contact between demonstrators and the police officers themselves. He described this exit as "safe; otherwise, we would not have suggested it."
Trapero deems that "the corridor of volunteers is not incompatible with the police cordon", and he reminded that "there were nearly 300
Catalan regional police officers near the Ministry of the Economy.
Leaving through the rooftop, a time-saving measure
They finally chose to have her leave through the rooftop, which the Catalan police Major justified to "save the time it would have taken to organise the cordon."
"The reason why we had the court secretary leave through the rooftop was not due to the fact that we felt that the cordon was not safe, the reason is that when I was called by the magistrate towards 11 PM, the cordon had been disassembled. The magistrate told me on the phone to help the court secretary get out of there. This was the first news we had about the search being over. My team informed me that they had found an alternate exit. Due to the call, I asked them to get in touch with the court secretary and to offer her that exit, and she agreed with it. The reason why we offered it was not to have to wait to establish the cordon once again."
In any event, he denied that the court secretary left hidden among the audience of the theatre.
"It is not true that the court secretary left hidden among the audience of the theatre. At that moment, a leader on my team told me that they were being denied permission to exit."
The former chief of the Catalan police stated that he was fully up to date on the situation thanks to Catalan police inspector Xavi Pastor, who was accompanying the court secretary and was responsible for her.
"Xavi, this is my responsibility, do not ask any more questions. Take the court secretary and get out, if any problems arise I will take full responsibility for them."
Constantly in touch with the Guardia Civil
The Catalan police Major stated during the trial that, on 20 S, he was constantly in touch with the Guardia Civil.
"I was in touch with inspector Ferran López. He had scores of conversations with the Guardia Civil commanders."
Previously, Javier Ortega-Smith, from Vox, had replied to him wondering how could it be that it took him 16 hours - the time it took to carry out the search - to get in touch with the court, to which Trapero answered that the Guardia Civil was in charge of communications with the court.
"We were constantly in touch with the Guardia Civil. I spoke to the court once and it was on my initiative."
When questioned by the popular prosecution, Trapero began by explaining that, on 20 September, Forn warned him that Jordi Sànchez would call him to offer to mediate "in what was going on in the Ministry" of the Economy.
"On 20 S, it was minister Forn who told me that Jordi Sànchez would give me a call. The call took a long time. The first conversations with Sànchez were to put our operations in touch. The calls were for this purpose. Towards 1 PM, we asked them to help us prepare a cordon as a preparation of what was to be the actual police cordon through which the arrested parties would be led to the Ministry of the Economy."
The former chief of the Catalan regional police insisted on the fact that the ANC wanted to ensure the exit of the judiciary committee and that he spoke to Sànchez so that he could help the Catalan regional police to prepare a volunteer cordon to allow the arrested parties to pass and attend the searches on that day.
Nor friendship nor enmity towards any of the parties on trial
When Trapero took the stand, he began by stating that he had no friendship nor enmity towards any of the parties on trial. His defence counsel, Olga Tubau, wanted to make some previous clarifications, but Marchena prevented her from doing so, reminding her that she was an interested third party and that she could only counsel the former chief of the Catalan regional police in his answers.
Trapero is one of the most outstanding witnesses after the former Spanish government officials who already took the stand before the second chamber of the Supreme Court accused the Catalan police of passivity and even of having fostered the referendum.
In fact, a number of accusations have been levelled against him. On the one hand, the Guardia Civil states that the Mossos did not answer their requests and that the demonstrators who had gathered on 20 S did not allow them to leave the Ministry of the Economy, as the court secretary also stated in her testimony.
Former Ministry of the Interior official Juan Antonio Nieto also accused him of being against the coordinator of the police operation of 1 October, colonel Pérez de los Cobos. He also stated that "most of the Catalan police was fully aligned with the Catalan government" and he criticised that the Catalan police failed to fulfil court orders. Likewise, both former government delegate Enric Millo and Pérez de los Cobos insisted on the fact that the Catalan police Major had no intention to comply with court orders.
Trapero is on trial before the National Court after magistrate Pablo Llarena declined to include his case in that of the Supreme Trial.
- Catalan independence trial