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"The Central Electoral Commission isn't a body hierarchically superior to the president of Catalonia." That was part of president Quim Torra's argument in his trial today. He also said that the election in question didn't affect the Catalan government, being as it was for the Spanish Congress and Senate.

The president directly admitted he disobeyed orders from Spain's Central Electoral Commission, as he did earlier this year during the investigation phase. "No, no I didn't comply with it. Yes I disobeyed it," he said in response to a question from his lawyer. He claimed the instruction to remove a banner from the balcony of the Catalan government palace was "illegal". "I defended the rights and freedoms of my fellow citizens," he said.

 

"I challenged the Commission's letters. Those challenges are in progress in the Supreme Court. It surprises me that we're holding this trial without the other procedure having finished. But sometimes justice works very quickly and others, not at all," he said.

"What this country is going through is a political conflict due to the decision taken by its political representatives in its Parliament", said Torra, who defended the right to self-determination. He said he used the term "political prisoners" as a way of expressing himself and that the term "isn't property of anyone".

Torra only answered questions from his lawyer, Gonzalo Boye, saying he wouldn't respond to the public prosecution service or far-right party Vox, which has brought a private prosecution in the case. With regards to the latter specifically, he said "it's a Francoist party."

Torra's testimony started around 11am, after the court had dismissed the preliminary questions brought by his defence. They including questioning the judge's impartiality, alleging the president's presumption of innocence had been violated and arguing the trial should be cancelled.

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