Due to the increased legal pressure inflicted on the Generalitat’s civil servants over the past month, the Minister of the Presidency, Jordi Turull, announced on Saturday that the Government would begin taking legal action against the Civil Guard officers investigating the Catalan referendum.
The decision by the Catalan Government follows the questioning of various government workers, including the Secretary General of the Presidency and the Director of Communications, for their involvement in preparing the October 1 vote. The Government officials were asked to give witness statements in relation to the authorisation and procurement of the National Pact for the Referendum website, which was set up with the intention of gathering broad support and promote a binding referendum agreed between the Spanish government and the Generalitat.
In this regard, the Minister of the Presidency criticised the politically motivated investigation for “criminalising any efforts to reach agreement” and denounced the manner in which the interrogations were conducted. According to the Minister, the civil guards tried to interfere with the witnesses’ testimony by intimidating and threatening the defendants. The officers would have also acted outside of the framework of investigations ordered by the Court of Instruction No.13, thereby usurping their functions as officers and altering official documents.
The actions involved in the interrogations would constitute the following crimes under the Spanish Penal Code:
1. Criminal offense by civil servants against the rights of individuals (article 542)
2. Obstruction of justice (article 464.1)
3. Usurpation of functions (article 508.1)
4. Document fraud (article 390.1)
5. Violation of secrecy (article 417.1)
The Government of Catalonia not only condemns this clear violation of fundamental rights of private citizens and public workers, but it will file a complaint against the officers and any other person who “actively and consciously collaborated” in the act of committing the crimes mentioned above.