Read in Catalan

"Putting on the clothes of a constitutionalist allows you to break the Constitution when you feel like it. Today, I've been in prison for a year. How can it be that those who are denouncing us to the Constitutional Court are failing to meet verdicts from that court every day? I have been in prison for a year thanks to a legal ruling which doesn't allow for penal reproach. Later they'll say they're not pursuing us for our ideas", former Catalan minister Jordi Turull said today in a particularly tense moment of his questioning today by prosecutors in the Catalan independence trial.

Turull, the third of the defendants to testify, started week two of the trial this Tuesday responding to questions from the public prosecution. He made sure to note that he had wanted to testify in Catalan but that, due to the lack of simultaneous interpretation, he would renounce that right.

His comments above followed an observation that the Catalan government "couldn't be denounced because holding a referendum was decriminalised in 2005". He then listed numerous occasions between 2012 and 2017 when he says the Spanish government themselves failed to respect Constitutional Court rulings.

Silence fell after his speech. There was no criticism from either prosecutors or the court, even though the later had cautioned him on a number of occasions during his questioning today.

Turull noted that neither his party's electoral manifesto, nor the later government programme were challenged by the Constitutional Court. As for some of the key evidence for prosecutors, the so-called Enfocats document and Josep Maria Jové's Moleskine document, he said he was unaware of them.

As Joaquim Forn and Oriol Junqueras did in their testimony last week, he said that the Catalan government had looked for dialogue and negotiations until the very end.

Referendum or referendum

In September 2016, after CUP refused to support his budget, president Carles Puigdemont submitted to a no-confidence motion, promising "a referendum or a referendum" if he remained in office. "I refute that in June 2016, the unilateral path was opted for", Turull said today. "The referendum, to the last minute, was attempted to be held under agreement [with Madrid]," he repeated to prosecutors.

The minister denounced the "use and abuse of the Spanish government to suspend everything the government of Catalonia did". He also said that often they couldn't do anything about Constitutional Court orders because, by the time they arrived, the actions that had been challenged were already completed.

"When I received the notification to stop the preparation of the referendum, we considered what all the laws say", he said, "considering and voting can never be illegal in a democracy".

20th September

"What happened on the 20th September [2017] was a peaceful act", said the minister, referring to the protests against police searches of Catalan ministries ahead of the referendum. The protests, he said, "called themselves", instead of having any specific organiser.

Turull said that he saw the state Civil Guard vehicles had been left in the next day in the media and that, like others, he condemned the damage. He also said he was only aware two had been damaged, when the prosecutor claimed it had been seven.

He denounced that the police also "tried to enter into CUP's headquarters without legal authorisation".

Non-violence

"It's always a failed operation to try to do anything by the path of violence", he said, "violence has no defence from any political party in Catalonia". "We're the country of Pau Casals", he continued, referring to the famous cellist, "however much Catalan society is presented as violent, this narrative doesn't make sense".

"There was a large demonstration in Catalonia which defended the unity of Spain, there were far-right groups which started to hit people. I didn't generalise because there were four of them. The people are peaceful in Catalonia", he said when prosecutors brought the topic back up later.

1st October 2017

Turull denied that he had called on the public to mobilise to avoid polling stations being closed on the day of the referendum, 1st October 2017.

Asked by the state's solicitor who gave the order to enact the universal roll, allowing people to vote at any polling station rather than just the one they were assigned to, he didn't give an answer. Nor did he say who was in charge of announcing the result of the referendum.

"Not a single euro was invested [in the referendum]", said Turull who, like the other defendants, is charged with misuse of public funds over the vote.

The charge is based principally on the advertising for the referendum. The minister said that "the web page referendum.cat was updated, not created. It was my decision".

As for invoices from the Catalan public media company CCMA for referendum advertising, he said that the organisation has no record of them and that it was a free government campaign. "Nobody understands where these invoices appeared from," he said. He also denied that mail firm Unipost invoiced the government for anything relating to the referendum.

Declaration of independence

Like Forn last week, Turull said that the declaration of independence on 27th October 2017 "was the expression of a political will which reflected the majority feeling of the people of Catalonia". Specifically, he said, "there was a declarative part and another which entrusted the Catalan government with doing things". "It was a political declaration. The Parliament of Catalonia does politics."

The other quotes

On the referendum: "People, before being independence supporters are democrats, and if the result had been 'no', they would have accepted it."

On Spain's reaction: "The Spanish government has been prepared to do everything except politics. And what did we want? For the people to vote. The state has to do politics."

On the decree for the referendum: "Yes, yes, I signed it. It was our commitment to the citizens of Catalonia, an image of unity of the government... but what's more I was eager to sign it."

On the independence movement: "It goes from the bottom up"

On whether he called on the public to rise up tumultuously: "Never. Never."

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