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The judge of a Madrid court has provisionally released Dani Gallardo, one of the young people who was arrested in the Spanish capital during protests after the sentencing of the Catalan pro-independence leaders in October 2019. Gallardo had been in jail for the 13 months since then. Now, while the court deliberates its verdict at the end of his two-session trial, the magistrate has decided that the 23-year-old can be allowed his liberty.  

The prosecution is demanding six years' prison for Gallardo for alleged offences of public disorder, attacks on authority and serious injuries. The young man will now be able to await the verdict at home. It is expected at around Christmas time.

During the trial Gallardo explained that the police beat his partner​ and that he tried to protect her with his body. “I preferred to have them hit me than her,” he said. Gallardo denied that he had picked up a piece of wood and allegedly beat officers - as police and prosecutors claim - or that he was part of any anti-system group. 

Asked by the public prosecutor, Gallardo denied that he had taken part in the rally in favour of the jailed Catalan leaders nor in the confrontations between protesters and police that took place in Plaza Santa Ana. He did not move rubbish containers into the road or throw objects at the police. Nor did he abuse passers-by or pick up the piece of wood which police claim he used as a weapon. According to Gallardo, he acted only to defend his partner, whom the police were assaulting.

"No evidence for claims"

During the trial, his lawyer stated that there was no evidence for the prosecution claims and Gallardo himself denied assaulting any police officer during the protests after the Catalan independence trial verdicts were released. The police report asserted that Gallardo hit a police officer's helmet with a piece of wood, which had nails in it.  

"In the police charges that were made, they arrested three people, one of whom was a minor, but Dani was not detained at that point, but much later," says Alejandra Matamoro, spokesperson for the Madrid Anti-Repression Movement, which conducted Gallardo's defence.

In fact, Dani was already returning home with his friends when they ran into the police. The riot police came at them and the group tried to run away as best they could. The police managed to catch Dani's companion Elsa. "He realized that she was no longer following him, that she had been caught by the police and they were beating her. So he turned around and went to help her. That's when they arrested him and beat him too," said the spokesperson for the Anti-Repression group.