Trapero's restitution is an act of justice

The state never forgave him for his performance in the aftermath of the Rambla terrorist attacks and during the independence referendum

This Thursday, the Minister of the Interior, Miguel Samper, announced the reinstatement of the Catalan police major, Josep Lluís Trapero, as the head of the police force following his dismissal from office when direct rule was imposed from Madrid. Trapero has since suffered a long ordeal of three years in which he has had to face charges for the crime of rebellion in a case orchestrated by Spanish police Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Baena, author of the statements on which the general suit against independence has been based, and by Colonel Diego Pérez de los Cobos, ultimately responsible for the great failure of the Spanish police during the referendum.

Fortunately, the trial served to dismantle all the accusations thanks to the work of Trapero's lawyer, Olga Tubau, the complicity of some witnesses such as the former senior Home Affairs officer Juan Antonio Puigserver, and the professionalism of Judge Ramón Sáez, who acquitted him. Judge Sáez refused to settle a sentence for disobedience and dismantled in his ruling all of the Spanish police's and the Prosecutor's Office's arguments against Trapero. It should be added that the trial also served to defend the Catalan police model, different from that of the Spanish corps, as seen on 1 October.

From this point on, restitution was a moral obligation for the Catalan Government, despite the unease that the decision may have caused in certain sectors of the most ardent pro-independence movement, which do not forgive him for being willing to arrest President Puigdemont if the courts so ordered. Trapero, who is not a politician, should be judged by his professionalism and efficiency at the head of the Catalan police, and not by his ideas. And the leaders of the Procés always said that officials would be protected from the action of justice. In their specific case, however, this was not the case because the deep state's desire for revenge, after feeling humiliated on October 1, and the malaise created among the state bodies by the Catalan police's management of the terrorist attacks on the Rambla and in Cambrils, were more powerful.

This Thursday, then, justice has been done. Trapero returns to the post he should never have left, and which during this time has been occupied by his former number 2, Ferran López, by Miquel Esquius and, since June 2019, by Eduard Sallent. The challenges ahead are still enormous. The terrorist threat is still alive, and the actions of the Catalan police, such as the eviction of family an hour before a curfew or the passivity in the face of the attack on the façade of the Palau de la Generalitat, continue to generate controversy.

Trapero has never wanted to be a hero or a martyr, but simply a policeman. And as such he must be treated from now on, in his successes and also in his failures. As he knows very well, in Catalonia, for historical reasons, there is a special sensitivity towards the police, and their responsibility is not easy nor will it be free of criticism. Even so, today there is only one thing to say: welcome back.

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