Judge Carmen Lamela of Spain’s National Court [official website, in Spanish] on Wednesday charged [charges, PDF, in Spanish] the former Catalan chief of police, Josep Lluís Trapero, with sedition [penal code, in Spanish] for his role in the 2017 independence referendum [JURIST report].
The judge concluded [press release, in Spanish] that Trapero facilitated the execution of the referendum by instructing the force to disregard orders from the Spain’s national government to block the vote. Specifically, Trapero’s actions violated Article 544 of the penal code [text, in Spanish], which establishes that individuals engage in sedition when they “impede, through force or extralegal methods, the application of [Spanish] law.” Per Article 545 [text, in Spanish], sedition carries a sentence of 10-15 years in prison for people in positions of “authority.”
Trapero quit the force [Guardian report] after being demoted last October when the Spanish government suspended the region’s autonomy. Two other members of the regional police and an official with the regional interior department were also indicted. The four accused are scheduled to testify [BBC report] before the judge on 16 April.
Spain’s Constitutional Court established last year that Catalonia’s referendum and subsequent declaration of independence were unconstitutional.