Papers Catalan police tried to burn implicate latest nominee for premier

Internal memos the Mossos d’Esquadra were to incinerate contain damning information on Jordi Sànchez as well as former force chief

Jordi Sànchez, who is currently in pre-trial detention for sedition.
Jordi Sànchez, who is currently in pre-trial detention for sedition.GABRIEL BOUYS (AFP)

In a further twist to Catalonia’s already complicated political scene, revelations about compromising documents saved from the flames in the nick of time could undermine the nomination of the latest candidate to the Catalan premiership.

The papers, which were seized by National Police officers on October 26 – a day before a unilateral independence declaration was passed by the regional parliament – reveal the existence of an illegal spying network.

Catalan police had tried to burn the incriminating documents at an incineration plant 

The internal documents that the Mossos d’Esquadra Catalan police had been planning to burn at an incineration plant in Sant Adriá del Besós (Barcelona) contain damaging information about Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, two civic leaders who are currently in pre-trial detention awaiting prosecution for sedition over the events of September 20 and 21, when thousands of protesters congregated in front of the Catalan department of economic affairs. The protest involved acts of vandalism against Civil Guard patrol cars, and hindered the work of officers in search of election material to confiscate.

Sànchez also happens to be the current candidate to become the next premier of Catalonia, after ousted premier Carles Puigdemont, who is living in self-imposed exile in Belgium, officially gave up on his reinstatement attempts and endorsed Sánchez’s nomination.

Despite Sánchez’s legal situation – it is unclear whether the Supreme Court judge in charge of the case will grant him leave to attend the investiture debate – the session has been scheduled for Monday, March 12 by Catalan parliament speaker Roger Torrent.

Catalan police

The information contained in the documents also represents a new legal setback for former Mossos d’Esquadra chief Josep Lluís Trapero, who is being investigated by the courts for allegedly directing the regional police force to aid the independence movement. The Catalan police stood by on October 1, the day of the illegal independence referendum, despite a court order to stop voting from taking place.

Josep Luís Trapero, former chief of the Catalan regional police.
Josep Luís Trapero, former chief of the Catalan regional police.Joan Sánchez

On October 26, National Police officers stopped three vehicles containing 36 boxes full of documents that the Catalan police force was attempting to take to the incineration plant in Sant Adrià del Besòs for destruction. The National Police’s information section in Barcelona spent six weeks poring through the information, and on December 15 it sent a report to High Court investigating Judge Carmen Lamela.

The 400-page dossier, which was reported on by the digital daily El Periódico, is now part of the evidence being used in the investigation against ex-Mossos chief Trapero.

The documents contain details about the September 20 protest in front of the Catalan economic department, and conversations between the Mossos and leaders of pro-independence associations who encouraged supporters to congregate in front of the building. Even though there were acts of vandalism and six Civil Guard patrol cars were damaged, the Mossos failed to step in and portrayed the demonstrators as peaceful.

In its analysis of the papers, the National Police point to specific documents detailing how Trapero’s aide, Teresa Laplana, gave Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart “sensitive information” on several occasions throughout the protest.

The Mossos actions as described in the papers represent “a manifest task of support for the execution of the secessionist road map, by controlling all the groups, individuals and activities that opposed it,” says the National Police’s report.

Spying on detractors

The papers also suggest that the Catalan police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra, kept tabs “on political parties, public figures and private individuals, entities and platforms with clear unionist or pro-constitution tendencies.” The National Police report concludes that the Catalan government created “a veritable department for illegal spying” aimed at “individuals opposed to the secession process.”

English version by Susana Urra.

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