Catalan police officials acquitted of rebellion charges

Four high-ranking police officers, originally charged with rebellion, were absolved by the Spanish High Court

The Spanish High Court has acquitted the ex-major of the Catalan police, Josep Lluís Trapero, former director general of the Catalan police force Pere Soler, former secretary general of the Home Affairs Lluís Puig and intendant Teresa Laplana for the trial of October 1. The court was divided on the extent to which the Trapero was part of a plan to attain independence.

The Supreme Court had already downgraded the original charge of the rebellion to sedition and dismissed the theory that the Catalan police, known as Mossos, were the "armed wing of a criminal plan"; the High Court has now absolved Trapero and the rest of the accused of any criminal responsibility. The Mossos neither helped the Catalan Government to make the referendum possible nor did they obstruct Spanish Police's search of the Catalan Department of Economy on 20 September 2017.

Three years after the events, the justice system found Trapero innocent and amended a story that had put the spotlight on the Mossos. As direct rule from Madrid was imposed, he was removed from office, stepped out of the limelight and was relegated to administrative positions within the corps. From stuck to his story and was confident he would be acquitted.

The charges were based on Pérez de los Cobos's witness statement, who was a colonel in the Spanish police. De los Cobos claimed Trapero was on the same side as ex-president Carles Puigdemont and compared the police major with "an arsonist charged with putting out a fire". This ignored Trapero's requests to call off the referendum.

The acquittal also represents a blow to the Supreme Court. In its ruling on the 2017 independence bid, judge Manuel Marchena claimed that the Mossos had collaborated with the Government to make the referendum possible. This  justified the sentencing of former Catalan councillor of the Home Affairs,  Joaquim Forn. This new ruling casts doubt on that story, although it is open to appeal to the Supreme Court, which is presided by Marchena, who will have the last word.

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