El Pais: At Madrid trial, Catalan separatists cite judiciary’s lack of “moral authority”21 February 2019 | 09:45 | FOCUS News Agency
Josep Rull, who was then the regional chief of territorial affairs, stated that the decision to press ahead with an unauthorized referendum and unilateral independence declaration was justified because of the Spanish Constitutional Court’s lack of “moral authority.”
Rull, who is facing up to 16 years behind bars for rebellion and misuse of public funds, followed a similar line of defense as the four ex-officials who went before him, including Oriol Junqueras, the former deputy premier of Catalonia. These officials say they sought to find a balance between obeying the law and obeying the “popular mandate.”
The high-profile trial has been cast by the pro-independence movement as politically motivated, while the Spanish government has insisted that the 12 defendants are not there because of their political ideas, but because of illegal acts committed deliberately.
Rull admitted on Wednesday that he ignored up to six warnings by the Constitutional Court against the roadmap that he was helping devise; that he signed a decree calling the referendum of October 1, 2017 and that he voted “yes” to the unilateral independence declaration made on October 27 inside the Catalan parliament.
The former official said that even though the Constitutional Court had ruled out the possibility of a referendum on independence on the grounds that it would violate the supreme law of the country, “there is room for a referendum in the Constitution if the political will is there.”
Rull also argued that the central government used the top court to stop the secession bid by appealing all the Catalan governments’ decisions and putting them on legal hold. “The Constitutional Court has let itself be used as a tool. If the democratic principle is violated, the principle of the law is delegitimized,” said Rull.
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