Turull: "I have spent a year on remand for an interlocutory decision that does not deserve prison"The former Catalan minister, who stands accused of rebellion, has stated that "the citizens of Catalonia are not sheep" and that the pro-independence movement "is a bottom-up movement
Josep Maria Camps
The Catalan independence trial resumed today at 10:00 AM with the statement of former Catalan minister Jordi Turull.
In the opening lines of his statement, Turull confirmed that he would answer the questions of the State Attorney General's Office and the Government Attorney's Office, like Joaquim Forn on Thursday, but not those of Vox.
Answered in Spanish
At the beginning of questioning, Turull said that he would have liked to answer in Catalan, but that he would answer in Spanish due to the lack of simultaneous translation.
The former Catalan minister said that he did not want to do so for sentimental reasons, referring to the argument put forth last week by the presiding magistrate of the Court, Manuel Marchena, but because he felt that he had a much better spoken level of Catalan.
"This makes no sense"
Turull refused a number of questions of the State Attorney General, Jaime Moreno, and has added that their indictment makes the pro-independence process appear out of nowhere:
"In your indictment, it would seem this process appeared one day when lights appeared and a white book dropped from the sky and landed ont he table. Bam! This makes no sense."
The former Catalan minister has stated that this narration lacks a key ingredient, namely the pro-independence movement which, according to him, is a "bottom-up movement":
"The citizens of Catalonia are not sheep; they are not militarised people who can be ordered about: "Go here, go there". No, that is not how it is. People in Catalonia, regardless of whether they are pro-independence or not, from the far right to the far left, have got a mind of their own. This is the 21st century."
"I say so because some are talking about the people in a way that displays an absolute ignorance of Catalonia and the pro-independence movement. The pro-independence movement in Catalonia is a bottom-up movement."
The presiding magistrate of the Court, Manuel Marchena, scolded Turull, saying that he was not limiting himself to answering the questions:
"Mister Turull. You have the right to answer and not to answer, to provide nuances, to refuse any question asked to you, but it is not proper for you to use one of the questions put forward by the prosecution to make statements you will have the chance to do, both in your allocution statement and when your defence counsel drafts his final report."
Interventions by the defence counsels
When the State Attorney General was questioning Turull on the contents of the document known as EnfoCATs and the agenda of Josep Maria Jové, the defence counsel of Oriol Junqueras and Raül Romeva, Andreu Van den Eynde, intervened:
"I object to the way in which the questions are being formulated, as it assumes facts that are not..."
At this point, Marchena interrupted him:
"Counsel, you do not have the floor. You are not the defence counsel of Turull. Please do not interrupt the questioning of the prosecutor or of any other party."
Van den Eynde pointed out that he was also defending Jové, and that the prosecutor was referring to his agenda.
"Holding referenda was decriminalised"
Turull has complained that he is being accused of organising a referendum, which is no longer a crime:
"We could not be denounced for holding a referendum because holding a referendum was expressly decriminalised. This is not subject to interpretation, no, no, this goes back to 2005: the organisation of a referendum by a party that lacks the competence to do so cannot give rise to criminal charges. "
"It used to be in the Criminal code and it was withdrawn. It was withdrawn. So what does the Spanish government do? It follows the "let's suspend it" route, "let's modify the Constitutional Court so that it can take coercitive actions, and if we are subject to criminal charges, it is ultimately because we are doing something that cannot give rise to criminal charges."
State Attorney Jaime Moreno interrogating Jordi Turull on Tuesday
25 breaches of Constitutional Court rulings
When asked whether he knew that the referendum had been banned by the Constitutional Court, Turull stated that, in 5 years, the Spanish government breached up to 25 rulings of the Constitutional Court:
"However, according to the arguments of the State Attorney General, this should apply to everyone. I am saying so because, during the same period from 2012 to 2017, the Spanish government has failed to comply with about 25 sentences of the Constitutional Court. And I will give you an example, because people are more inclined to follow through examples than through advice."
"With regard to the 0.7% income tax rate affair, there is a ruling, 177/2012, which compels the Spanish state to transfer it to the Catalan government. Did it comply with it? No. Ruling 226/2012 was issued on this same subject, did it comply with it? No. Ruling 21/2013. No. All on the same subject. Ruling 70/2013; it did not comply with it. Did the State comply with ruling 154/2013? No. Ruling 33/2014. No. Ruling 9/2017, did it comply with it? It did not."
"These are Constitutional Court rulings, not the actions of an automatism due to a prerogative."
Turull stressed his point by stating that "Constitutional Court ruling are being breached on a daily basis and nothing happens":
"A Spanish government... I assume your statements will illuminate us on equality before the law and Constitutional Court rulings: how can it be that those who denounced us to the Constitutional Court are those who are breaching Constitutional Court rulings on a daily basis without consequence."
"Dressing up as constitutionalists"
On this point, the accused has stated that legal action is different for people in the "pro-constitution" and for "pro-independence" camps.
"Do you know what's the matter? When we say we are all equal before the law, dressing up as a constitutionalist must be quite a steal, as it allows you to breach the Constitution as you see fit. However, if you are pro-independence, for one measure, a Constitutional Court ruling, for one measure, not for a duly grounded resolution, no, for one measure, I have spent a year on remand, for an interlocutory decision."
"Junts pel Sí, [Together for the "yes"], not together 'just because'"
In his answer to the State Attorney General, Turull defended that the actions of the political party for which he was elected, Junts pel Sí, was known to everyone, and he added that the strategy was always to seek dialogue:
"We received no challenges from the State Attorney General, there was an electoral programme, there was an investiture debate and a government programme. Junts pel sí [Together for the "yes"], not together "just because". Everyone was aware of that. I believe it is not abnormal for you to try to carry out your commitments with the citizens of Catalonia through peaceful means, through democratic means."
"The strategy we followed from the get-go was: "let's sit down and talk about it." In the words of Machado, before discussing you must listen. No-one has deigned to listen to us, but we insisted on it, because the words "give up" do not exist in the political dictionary of Catalonia. We insist."
Turull complained that, in spite of their efforts, they were not listened.
A member of Òmnium, ANC and many more associations
The State Attorney General asked him if he was a member of ANC and Òmnium, and Turull replied with a list of all the entities to which he belongs:
Turull has added that "he is not aware" that belonging to Òmnium is a crime: "It was not even a crime under Franco."
"I am a member of Òmnium Cultural, of ANC, of Càritas, of the Fundació Catalana de l'Esplai, of Intermón Oxfam, of the RACC. I have been a member of Òmnium for over 20 years."
The same prosecutor as Francesc Homs
The prosecutor interrogating Jordi Turull, Jaime Moreno, is the same who interrogated Francesc Homs in the Supreme Court trial for the 9N referendum. Said questioning was tense due to constant dialectical bickering and interruptions.
Moreno also acted as an advisor to the Rajoy government as a member of the commission for the reform of the Code of Criminal Procedures.
The State Attorney General is asking for 16 years in prison
The State Attorney General is asking for 16 years in prison for the former Catalan minister of the Presidency for the crimes of rebellion and misuse of public funds. The Government Attorney's Office is asking for 11 years and 6 months' prison for sedition and misuse of public funds, and the popular accusation exerted by the party Vox is asking for 74 years in prison for rebellion, criminal organisation and misuse of public funds.
Turull, who ran as candidate for the presidency of the Catalan government, was held on remand twice: first, from November to December 2017, when he was released, after which he was sent back to prison on 23 March 2018 by Supreme Court justice Pablo Llarena.
- Catalan independence trial