Day 52: Wednesday, 11th June
Concluding statements by the defence lawyers continue this morning in the Supreme Court trial of the 12 Catalan independence leaders. This afternoon it is expected that the 12 defendants will have their last words, for which they have been allocated around 10 minutes each. Then the trial will be in the hands of the judges.

Day 51: Tuesday, 11th June
The intense final days in the Supreme Court trial of the 12 Catalan independence leaders have arrived. In Tuesday final statements were heard by four of the defence lawyers; Andreu van den Eyne, Xavier Melero (in the morning), Jordi Pina and Josep Riba (both in the afternoon).

El Nacional's English-language resources for the Catalan independence trial are: our guide to the trial procedure; who's who of defendants, lawyers and judges; who's who of witnessesfrequently asked questions on issues behind the trial; chronology of trial-related events since Sept 2017; also note the El Nacional Youtube channel, where all our videos of trial coverage (in Spanish) can be found and our live minute-by-minute coverage in Catalan/Spanish when the court is in session. And below, in our day-by-day coverage notes, you'll find links to all El Nacional's trial-related articles in English.


Day 50: Tuesday, 4th June
The concluding statements from the prosecuting lawyers were heard today as the trial moves into its final phases. Public prosecutors in the morning, state solicitors and Vox in the afternoon (videos below). All three prosecutions had already said they were making no substantive alterations to the original charges they sought for the defendants. Some of the interest, of course, was in how they would try to assert that crimes of rebellion (defined as "a violent and public uprising") actually took place, given inconvenient details such as the complete absence of significant violence throughout the whole process, except for the actions of the Spanish police. And indeed, the public prosecutors did not flinch from their original position, going as far as to state that the events of October 2017 in Catalonia were a coup d'etat - and that the violence required for a rebellion needed only to be threatened or intimidatory.

On Tuesday 11th June the defences' final summaries will begin, and then, for any of the defendants who wish, there is the opportunity to make a final statement to the court, likely to all take place next week. The verdict, however, is not likely for many weeks. 

Day 49: Wednesday, 29th May
A day occupied with the viewing of the defences' video evidence on the referendum and the associated 2017 events. All this filmed material can be reviewed in the video of the full day's proceedings here. Ironically, the video evidence the court saw which most suggested the street disorder described by the prosecutors' case was video shown for comparison purposes by the defence, featuring a range of other recent protests around Spain, unconnected to the independence movement. The day ended with the prosecutions and defences outlining verbally the changes they intend to make to their final conclusions, as the trial reaches its final stages. 

Day 48: Tuesday, 28th May
Second day of presentation of documentary evidence at the Catalan independence trial. Most of the prosecutions' video evidence was seen by the court today, and it was a disastrous day for their cases. That of the public prosecutors in particular seemed disorganized, amateurish and weak. The full day's proceedings, including all the videos shown by the prosecutions, are here.

Day 47: Monday, 27th May
The next phase in the trial sequence begins: the presentation of documentary evidence. This means, among other concerns, that we have finally reached the point when the court will watch the many videos of the October 1st 2017 referendum day presented as evidence. Only three days have been reserved for this phase with the trial envisaged to end on June 11th or 12th

COURT RECESS between Weeks 15 and 16:
There were two major headlines affecting the trial protagonists over the weekend: first, Friday's decision by the Spanish Congress's board to suspend the elected prisoners from their duties as Spanish deputies. Second, the elections to the EU parliament, municipal governments and Spanish autonomous communities took place on Sunday, now electing the imprisoned Oriol Junqueras to the Brussels parliament along with exiled Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín.

Day 46: Thursday, 23rd May
The second and already final day of testimonies from experts who have presented reports as part of the trial evidence. Among the testimonies was an unusual face-off between two sets of experts, representing prosecution and defence respectively, on a referendum spending issue. The visits of foreign political representatives to the Supreme Court continued as Welsh MP Hywel Williams attended a session of the trial. 

Day 45: Wednesday, 22nd May
Yesterday, some of them took their first actions as parliamentary deputies. Today once again they are defendants in court facing long sentences for rebellion. The last scheduled day of witnesses in the trial of 12 Catalan pro-independence leaders. What's next when witness hearings are complete? Number four of the seven trial stages begins: the testimonies of experts who have authored reports included in the case, a phase that is expected to be relatively brief.

COURT RECESS between Weeks 14 and 15:
As usual, in the court recess, the trial continued to be part of the news: Barcelona judges association Ágora Judicial stated that it sees a deplorable precedent in the court's veto of Catalan language in the trial; exiled Turkish journalist Can Dündar commented that “not even in Turkey” would a political party be able to play the role of prosecutor in a court case.

On Friday, the Supreme Court itself announced that it would allow the elected prisoners to take their seats in the Spanish parliament on Monday - giving rise to a situation “unheard of in any democracy”, as José Antich commented in his preview of the constitution of the Spanish Cortes. And so it was on the Monday, with reunions and videos. On the Tuesday, a noisy opening of both Congress and the Senate with the presence of the prisoners and also a returned exile; there was a controversial salutation, and a first-hand account of it all from Jordi Turull.

Day 44: Tuesday, 14th May
The penultimate day of witness testimonies, and a particularly controversial one, with judge Marchena interrupting witnesses and defence lawyers on numerous occasions. One of these moments has led legal experts to affirm that the judge's actions may have invalidated the trial.

Now, with public holidays in Madrid this week, the trial has adjourned again - until next Wednesday. Before that, on Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st, the five defendants elected to the Spanish Congress and Senate at the April 28th general election (Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Turull, Josep Rull and Raül Romeva) will be present at the Spanish parliaments to take possession of their seats and take part in the constitution of the legislature, the Supreme Court having given approval for this at the same time as it denied the need for special suplicatorio permission to continue trying prisoners who are now parliamentary representatives.

Day 43: Monday, 13th May
Witnesses included the CUP's Mireia Boya, Jaume Asens of the Commons, and architect Itziar González.

COURT RECESS between Weeks 13 and 14

Day 42: Thursday, 9th May
Testimonies continued from Catalans who took part in the referendum on October 1st, 2017. Away from the case proper, the public prosecutors argued against both the release of the 5 prisoners who are deputies-elect for the opening of parliament and the need for a suplicatorio permission from parliament for the trial to continue, given that it now involves parliamentary deputies. Meanwhile, constitutional law professor Javier Pérez Royo believes those deputies-elect are now being illegally imprisoned because of their new status.

There was an incident in the court involving members of the public calling out the Catalan expression pit i collons - literally, "chest and balls".

Day 41: Wednesday, 8th May
The third day of testimonies from people who were present at voting centres for the independence referendum. Meanwhile, the four of the imprisoned defendants (Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Turull and Josep Rull) who were elected to Spain's Congress on April 28th, have asked judge Marchena for permission to attend the opening of the new parliament on May 21st, to take possession of their seats. 

Day 40: Tuesday, 7th May
Further testimonies from Catalans who took part in the referendum on October 1st, 2017. Voter Josep Fort said that, in contrast to the prosecution line that voters were acting as part of a concerted rebellion, people who came to the polls "organised themselves". Barcelona resident Pere Font was one of those at a school where Spanish police turned up: "They grabbed me by the testicles, picked me up and dropped me down."

Day 39: Monday, 6th May
The "star" witness heard was former Barcelona mayor Xavier Trias; several senior Mossos d'Esquadra police officers also appeared, along with CCOO union leader Javier Pacheco. The Supreme Court has now released a schedule for all the remaining witnesses to be heard in the trial, estimating that witness hearings will conclude on Monday 20th May, to be followed by declarations by technical experts and the presentation of documentary evidence, which will include the watching of a significant number of videos. 

COURT RECESS between Weeks 12 and 13

Day 38: Tuesday, 30th April
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court trial of 12 pro-independence leaders, heard the first testimonies from Catalans who voted in the referendum of October 1st 2017. "I remember exactly the sound that was made by a truncheon opening a person's head," said one witness, as Marta Lasalas reported from the court.    

Day 37: Monday, 29th April
The day after the the Spanish general election: now, five of the defendants are newly-elected representatives for the parties ERC and JxCat. A day dominated by the testimonies of Catalan singer-songwriter Lluís Llach, along with a number of international witnesses: MEPs Ana Gomes of Portugal and Ivo Vagl of Slovenia, German politician Andrej Hunko, and Manón Massé of Quebec, the last via video conference.  

COURT RECESS between Weeks 11 and 12:
The Spanish general election is held. The Catalonia situation in general, and the independence trial in particular, are issues. Spain's right wing parties want a harder line on Catalan independence, but their recipe, advocating "open tension and territorial conflict", is defeated at the polls. Pro-independence party ERC wins the Spanish elections in Catalonia for the first time, but the overall balance of seats in the Spanish Congress leaves the Socialists strengthened.  

Day 36: Thursday, 25th April
Testimonies in the court on Thursday included those of Gerard Pisarello, deputy mayor of Barcelona, and David Fernández, former deputy in the Catalan parliament for the CUP party. Also today, the Washington Post has published an article asking whether the Catalan independence trial is legal or political.  

Day 35: Wednesday, 24th April
A dramatic verdict from another Spanish court: former Barça football president Sandro Rosell has been acquitted of money laundering charges after being held for 22 months in pretrial detention. And just metres away from Rosell's courtroom, the trial of the Catalan independence leaders continued, with witnesses including Albert Donaire, the Catalan police officer who coordinated the pro-independence "Mossos per la República" group and who suffered an intimidatory attack on his home two weeks ago; and Neus Lloveras, former president of the Catalan body Association of Municipalities for Independence. 

Day 34: Tuesday, 23rd April
The day of Sant Jordi, day of books and roses in Catalonia, saw witness testimonies from a number of Catalan political personalities and civil servants, among them former Catalan ministers Jordi Jané, Jordi Baiget and Meritxell Ruiz. Current Catalan vice president Pere Aragonès was also scheduled to appear but on entering the court successfully asserted his right to be exempted, due to his involvement in other independence-related court proceedings. Catalan president Quim Torra said in his Sant Jordi speech - in English that a democracy cannot "tolerate political trials" or "the voice of the people being silenced with violence and threats."  And in Portugal, sixty politicians and intellectuals have signed a manifesto under the title "For democracy and freedoms in Catalonia."

COURT RECESS between Weeks 10 and 11:
The extraordinary relationship of the trial with Spain's political present and future was dramatically illustrated over the Easter break by the fact that five of the defendants gave press conferences and interviews from the Soto del Real prison as part of their campaigns to win office in next Sunday's Spanish general election. First to be granted permission for an electoral press conference was ERC's Oriol Junqueras, facing 25 years in jail for rebellion and running as number one on the party Barcelona list for the Spanish congress: here is our reporteditorial, Iu Forn's chronicle, and Carlota Camps's interview with the Catalan politician. JxCat's number one for Barcelona, political prisoner Jordi Sànchez, was also permitted an electoral press conference to support his campaign; Iu Forn commented on the "normalised abnormality" of the spectacle, while José Antich's editorial was entitled "When the state accepts its disgrace".

Subsequently over Easter, Josep Rull, Jordi Turull and Raül Romeva all participated in electoral events by telematic means from prison. There was even a joint video connection featuring live images of the exiled Carles Puigdemont from Belgium and Jordi Sànchez from the Madrid prison. Coincidentally (or not), the European body Organization for Security and Co‑operation in Europe met with Spanish prison officials on Easter Monday to check that the prisoners' rights as election candidates were being respected. 

Day 33: Wednesday, 17th April
Last day of the trial before the Easter break. The "stuck record" of the endless police testimonies, most saying basically the same thing, is wearing on the nerves of all concerned

Day 32: Tuesday, 16th April
Further testimonies from police witnesses.

Day 31: Monday, 15th April
A different trial timetable from usual for the next few days as Spain enters Holy Week. Court sessions will be held on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, with a long list of police officers to give testimony, and Monday morning was dominated by the second in command of the Civil Guard judicial police in Catalonia, key in investigations and reports that led to the rebellion and sedition charges, who described a supposed conspiracy between many elements of Catalan society to achieve independence by maximising what he called the "intensity". 

COURT RECESS between Weeks 9 and 10:
The trial continues to make waves outside the courtroom. One of the the news stories this weekend involved former top UK cop Sir Hugh Orde, co-author of the expert report on violence in the events of October 2017 which was not accepted as evidence by the Supreme Court. Interviewed in English on Catalan television, Sir Hugh gave a powerful rebuttal to the prosecution accusation of violent rebellion. 

Others to raise their voices over the trial have been Scottish Nationalist MP Gavin Newlands who told the House of Commons that it was "an utter sham" with key evidence "being disallowed by the court", and Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy who told El Nacional in an extensive interview that he thinks EU pressure is needed to unblock the situation. 

Day 30: Thursday, 11th April
Related events in Europe: German left-wing MP Zaklin Nastic has warned that the new charges against a further 30 Catalan politicians and civil servants threaten further "draconian punishments". In Strasbourg at an Òmnium event, a group of international lawyers and activists warned that unless voices are raised today about events in Madrid, "tomorrow there might be political prisoners in Berlin, Vienna, Paris or Geneva." In court, the procession of police witnesses continued.

Day 29: Wednesday, 10th April
Police testimonies continued in Madrid. One of those present at the Supreme Court proceedings this week has been Jody Williams, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work in banning anti-personnel landmines. She has spoken out on how protest "is being criminalised" by the trial. In Barcelona, a judge has now moved to prosecute 30 more people accused of involvement in the organisation of the 2017 referendum. What is happening is simply an attempt at general intimidation of the independence movement, says José Antich. 

Day 28: Tuesday, 9th April
The trial continued with testimonies from members of the Spanish National police force. Meanwhile, there are many trial-related stories from beyond the court: a report which the court refused to admit as evidence, a study by former UK police heads on the referendum period which rejects that independence supporters were violent, has been released to media. The latest weekly report from International Trial Watch again criticises the judges' ruling that video evidence of events cannot be shown to confront the claims of witnesses while they are testifying. As well, Supreme Court sources have reportedly said that any of the defendants who are successful candidates in the upcoming elections would have to be freed to officially take office. On the other hand, prosecutors have objected to the latest petitions for the release of the 9 prisoners, claimed both on the basis of ensuring their right to a fair defence and, in some cases, to participate as candidates in the election campaign in equitable conditions.

COURT RECESS between Weeks 8 and 9:
Over the weekend, a Mossos d'Esquadra officer called to appear as a witness later this month suffered an intimidatory attack on his home by anti-independence extremists. Also in recent days, the head of the Barcelona Medical Association has spoken out to defend Catalan doctors working during the referendum period against criticisms made in the testimonies of a number of Spanish police witnesses. Another who spoke out about the trial at the weekend - in this case, on Catalan television - was Bernhard "Felix" von Grünburg, retired German politician who had testified to the Supreme Court ten days before.

The court schedule for the week features three days devoted entirely to testimonies from Spanish police officers.

Day 27: Thursday 4th April
First to testify on Thursday was Joan Carles Molinero, commissioner of the Catalan Mossos d'Esquadra police. Later, more lower ranking Civil Guard police officers appeared. In the middle, between 12:30pm and 4pm, the court took a long lunch break because two of the judges in the case had to attend a meeting of Spain's Central Electoral Commission, on which they sit - the possible conflicts of interest in this fact have been discussed earlier in the trial, although according to the Commission the two judges are not taking part in any of its decisions that pertain to this trial.  

Day 26: Wednesday 3rd April
Mossos d'Esquadra commissioner head Ferran López, who was chief Trapero's number two during the October 2017 events and subsequently took his place when Spanish PM Rajoy sacked the chief, took the witness stand on Wednesday morning, and what followed was one of the key testimonies in the trial so far, directly challenging the version of the police response on October 1st given by Civil Guard colonel Diego Pérez de los Cobos. Also, José Antich's view on the importance of lawyer Xavier Melero's call for the court to hold a careo, a special face-to-face session confronting the two witnesses.

Day 25: Tuesday 2nd April
"Music parties, pyjama parties, nighttime hot chocolate parties". That was how everything started on referendum weekend, according to senior Spanish National Police officer, Manuel Quintela, testifying in the Supreme Court trial of the 12 Catalan independence leaders, at the start of another week likely to be dominated by police witnesses. Tuesday saw testimonies from several senior officers in Spain's National Police corps, two Civil Guard captains, and other rank and file police officers.

COURT RECESS between Weeks 7 and 8
We're at an interesting stage in the Catalan independence trial - although paradoxically, what's interesting is that from a news point of view, things are becoming a little boring. What lies ahead for much of this month are witness testimonies from mostly rank-and-file police officers involved in the events in Catalonia in autumn 2017. A far cry from the politicians and other key figures whose statements in the first weeks of the trial were easily transformed into headlines and soundbites, but potentially, a huge cumulative weight of evidence, and not able to countered by video evidence to the contrary until weeks later. In fact, the international observer group at the trial believes there are serious legal problems with the way the court has chosen to handle the presentation of police reports and testimonies.

Also note that the witness schedule for April suggests the tone of the trial might change on April 23rd, the day of Sant Jordi, just five days before the Spanish general election, when a series of key Catalan government officials and politicians are to be called, including current Catalan vice president Pere Aragonès and musician and former deputy Lluís Llach.

Meanwhile, far from Madrid, four members of the British Houses of Parliament have written a letter to The Times denying the accusations of violence levelled at voters.

Day 24: Thursday 28th March
The Supreme Court sessions for the week concluded with further police witnesses (mostly low-ranking Civil Guard officers, but some members of the Mossos d'Esquadra as well). 

DAY 23: Wednesday 27th March
Two international witnesses, present for the 1st October 2017 referendum, appeared: former German politician Bernhard von Grünberg gave testimony in the morning, followed by one of the leaders of the international electoral researchers group, Helena Catt, of New Zealand.  

DAY 22: Tuesday 26th March
Testimony on day 22 of the trial by Civil Guard lieutenant colonel Daniel Baena, head of the force's judicial unit in Catalonia and as such author of police reports on which many of the charges in the trial are based, and also known as the person behind a notorious anti-independence Twitter profile, 'Tácito' - although he denied this in court. Our story on his testimony here. Also, the court's refusal to allow witnesses to be challenged during cross-examination by showing videos may contradict rulings of the European Human Rights Court.   

DAY 21: Monday 25th March
Two Civil Guard officers appeared giving testimony mostly in relation to the judicial search of the Catalan economy ministry and the protest outside, on September 20th 2017. Among the revelations of some intense cross-examination was the fact that one of these officers, agent B35974S, himself broke two of the car windows on the notoriously damaged Civil Guard vehicles. Another procedural development of the day was judge Marchena's decision to restrict interaction between members of the public and the prisoners, which had been possible up till now at the moments of adjournment. Meanwhile, the international observers at the trial announced that a report of their final conclusions will be delivered to the UN's periodical human rights review

COURT RECESS between Weeks 6 and 7
Is this when the witness schedule becomes the news story in itself? In the middle of a list of anonymous Civil Guard officers, identified only by their numbers and unlikely to appear on camera, there appears a police officer identified by name - a female member of the Mossos d'Esquadra. Why the different criteria? An issue, labelled by some as very serious, which will be present in this week's Supreme Court sessions - that group of witnesses are due to testify on Thursday.

Several more senior members of the Civil Guard will be testifying on Monday and Tuesday, among them lieutenant colonel Daniel Baena, head of the force's judicial unit in Catalonia and as such author of police reports on which many of the charges in the trial are based. He is also known as the person behind a notorious anti-independence Twitter profile, 'Tácito'. Wednesday 27th will see a break from police witnesses, with the appearances of Paul Sinning (director, The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies), Helena Catt (spokesperson for the international electoral experts present for the 1st October 2017 referendum), and in theory at least, two video conference testimonies as well, from former German MP Bernhard von Grünberg and Québécoise politician Manon Massé, who were present for the referendum. 

Over the weekend, lawyer Jaume Alonso Cuevillas has voiced his firm view that the defendants will be found guilty not of rebellion, but of conspiracy to rebellion

DAY 20: Thursday 20th March
The sessions of Thursday 21st March brought to an end the week with the least media fireworks of any phase in the court proceeedings so far, being dominated by the testimonies of Civil Guard officers who took part in the events of October 2017. Accounts of "faces of hate" and other policing unpleasantries, mixed with lighter aspects such as protesters throwing flowers - but, as our article points out, the "violent uprising" of a rebellion remains absent.  

DAY 19: Wednesday 20th March
Second day of testimonies by Civil Guard police officers, describing their "Catalonia experiences" from late 2017: efforts to confiscate referendum material in advance, searches of Catalan government offices and officials, behaviour at protests, the referendum itself, and the subsequent activities they were engaged in such as analysing mails or compiling "highlights" videos. Names were dropped: there was a Pep Guardiola, there was also a Marta Rovira, although which Marta Rovira was not altogether clear. El Nacional also spoke to defendant Jordi Sànchez about how he sees the evolution of this trial at which he faces a possible sentence of 17 years jail.  

DAY 18: Tuesday 19th March
The day's witness schedule consisted of Civil Guard officers, although there was a surprising exception: the first witness, Felipe Martínez, under-secretary in the Spanish treasury in 2017. Then, four officers of the seven who had been programmed were heard: the questioning of Agent K47019K in the morning set the pattern for the day, of police witnesses talking about a wide range of dates and specific actions in relation to the 2017 events, and therefore taking more time than expected. During the day there were defence complaints about this expansion of their areas of testimony, along with legal protests about the inability (due to the judge's ruling) to confront witnesses by showing them videos revealing the contradictions in their declarations. In particular, Agent P35979V spoke of a "tumult" outside the Catalan foreign ministry on September 20th, 2017, with protesters "making death threats" and the Mossos d'Esquadra remaining passive: here’s the video contradicting that description which the judge didn’t allow to be shown to the witness.

The weekly report from the international observers present at the trial once again finds fault with various aspects of the court proceedings

COURT RECESS between Weeks 5 and 6
Another Tuesday start this week for the Supreme Court, with a schedule of witnesses for the week which consists exclusively (for the moment, at least) of ordinary Civil Guard officers, identified in the court documents by their police numbers and not their names.

Beyond the court, the major weekend focus was clearly the first-ever large Catalan independence protest in Madrid, which left its moments of spectacle, and was commented on by media from Bloomberg to Al Jazeera, as well as by José Antich in his editorials A lesson in dignity  and The demonstration stings. Here also is Gonzalo Boye's reflection on the trial as part of the wake-up call for Spanish justice to the legal reality of Europe.

For DAYS 1-17 (weeks 1-5) of the Catalan independence trial, click here.