Court summons businessmen over referendum material
Barcelona judge calls on the heads of four printing and distribution firms to testify on March 7
Four businessmen connected with producing and distributing material for the October 1 independence referendum have been summoned to testify in court. The Barcelona judge handling the case has summoned José Oriol González Martínez, Sergi Bellido Andújar, Sergi Aymerich Roman and Ricard Martí Ramon to appear in court on March 7.
According to the High Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC in Catalan), all four businessmen head printing or distribution companies. One example is the Marc Martí firm in Barcelona, from which the Guardia Civil police report confiscating 100,000 posters made for the Catalan government to promote the October 1 referendum.
The case against independence process
This comes the day before other Catalan officials will be appearing in court in Madrid. The defendants face criminal charges for their role in the political process that concluded with a declaration of independence in October—which was suspended by the Constitutional Court and which prompted the Spanish government to suspend Catalonia’s self-rule.
The investigation continues. All in all there are 28 officials involved in the case in Spain’s Supreme Court, all key figures in the Catalan independence movement. The court could eventually bar them from office.
The accused include president Puigdemont, currently in Belgium along with four of his ministers, and four imprisoned leaders. In total, 12 people have been held behind bars at some point during the investigation.
They are all charged with rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds. The first, one of the most serious articles in the Spanish criminal code, carries prison sentences of up to 30 years. Yet, it has been highly contested whether rebellion charges apply to Catalonia’s attempts to secede from Spain, as the use of violence is a prerequisite for triggering the article—and pro-independence parties have repeatedly stressed that they have only used peaceful means to achieve their political goals.