New Spanish police operation on Catalonia’s 1-O independence referendum

  • Officers raid government offices, high-ranking official's home and HQ of pro-independence civic organization

15.03.2018 - 12:39
Actualització: 15.03.2018 - 12:44

Spain’s Guardia Civil police started a police operation on the October 1 referendum on Thursday. Officers entered a high-ranking Catalan government official’s home and office during the operation. Antoni Molons, the Catalan administration’s Secretary of Citizenship and Public Information, is being held in order to attend the raids. The Guardia Civil also raided the HQ of Òmnium Cultural, one of the two main pro-independence organizations in the country. Seven of Òmnium’s workers and some members of its leadership are being held, with officers blocking and changing passwords of a number the organization’s email accounts.

Òmnium VP calls operation “shameful attack”
The vice president of Òmnium Cultural, Marcel Mauri, told the RAC1 radio station that the judge who ordered the raid of his organization’s HQ warned him not to call for protests outside the building if he wanted to avoid “charges of sedition and rebellion”. Mauri called the police operation a “shameful attack” and challenged the need to raid his organization when its accounts are published on its website. Mauri said that it seemed to him as if the officers were looking for financial documents but the Òmnium vice president insisted that “they will not find evidence of any payments from the Catalan government.”

Operation in January
The operation was ordered by the local court in charge of the referendum case –excluding the highest-ranking officials, who are being investigated by Spain’s Supreme Court. In fact, this high court in Madrid ordered an operation targeted at Òmnium and another major pro-independence organization, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), on January 24.

Officers entered and searched the HQs of both associations, spending almost 12 hours in Òmnium and six hours in the ANC. During the visit, the officers made a copy of Jordi Cuixart’s and Jordi Sànchez’s email accounts. They were the presidents of the civic entities in the run-up of the referendum, and have now been in pre-trial prison for five months.

Some 60 officials investigated
The Barcelona court in charge of Thursday’s operation has also held a number of hearings in the past few weeks, including those related to some businessmen linked to the referendum advertising campaign. Some 30 officials are under investigation by this court for the possible offenses of rebellion, sedition, misuse of public funds, disobedience, revealing of secrets and perversion of justice. Meanwhile, Spain’s Supreme Court is also investigating another 30 officials related to the independence cause –the most senior ones–, with Spain’s National Court overseeing an open inquiry into the Catalan police leadership.


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