Josep Lluis Trapero, former police chief of Catalonia on Monday went on trial over his role in the region's failed independence bid in 2017. According to reports, Josep, who was the head of Mossos d'Esquadra regional police force at the time of 2017 protests is accused of "total passivity" by state prosecutors. Prosecutors have said that during the October 1 independence referendum, Mossos under Trapero's watch did not respond while Spain's national police led the violent crackdown to stop voters.
The trial that is taking place at a court in San Fernando de Henares on the outskirts of Madrid is expected to last until March 19. According to reports, Josep Lluis Trapero is facing the court on charges of rebellion with prosecutors seeking an 11-year jail sentence. The Supreme Court of Spain in October 2019, sentenced nine Catalan separatist leaders to prison terms but dismissed the charge of rebellion against them and charged them with sedition instead, which carries a shorter jail term. Trapero also appeared at the separatists' trial as a witness where he defended his role as police chief saying that Mossos had no intention of facilitating the referendum.
Reports suggest that shortly after the October 27 referendum was passed in the Catalan Parliament in 2017, Trapero was dismissed along with the Catalan government and direct rule was imposed from the central government in Madrid. His dismissal came just two months after he was praised for capturing Islamic State extremists who were behind a summer van attack that killed 14 people in Barcelona. Voters in Catalonia voted in favour of independence during the October 1 referendum that saw a turnout of 43 per cent. After the referendum, the President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, declared the independence of Catalonia but left it suspended in order to engage in a dialogue to reach an agreement with the Spanish government.