Prosecutor’s Office in Spain is asking for 14, 7 and 3 years in prison for three youngsters, for the crimes of being disorderly and assaulting authority by participating in one of the Urquinaona square protests, against the Spanish Supreme Court’s ruling on the independence leaders, on October 18th, 2019.
They reported to the court of the 6th section of the Barcelona Audience, this Wednesday, that they were mistreated by agents of the Spanish police. In the trial, the three claimed they do not know each other and denied throwing stones and “pyrotechnic devices” at the officers. However, two police officers identified the three defendants and claimed that they had a “leadership role” in the riots.
The first to testify was Francesc Colomines, for whom the Public Prosecutor’s Office is asking for 7 years and 4 months in prison. He said “I took part in the demonstration and that he was in Trafalgar street “lost and looking for friends” to leave the area with, at which point he was arrested by Spanish police officers,” said Francesc Colomines.
He had to receive medical assistance for a gash on his head and bruises all over his body. “The agents did this to me when they arrested me and insulted me, calling me: faggot, pro-independence supporter, Puigdemont and podemita [left-wing Podemos’ supporter, pejorative] shit”, said Colomines to his lawyer, Benet Salellas. His violent arrest went viral on social networks. The young man did not report the incident to the court because he said that the arrest caused him a lot of anxiety, and has been undergoing psychological treatment.
Francesc also denied throwing a 7×7 cm stone at an inspector, which caused him a slight injury to his left hand, according to the Prosecutor’s statement, and calling on the others as “a leader” to throw objects at the police cordon.
Oleksandr S., a resident of Arenys de Mar, for whom the Prosecutor is asking for 14 years in prison —the highest sentence requested— which exceeds Catalan vice-president Oriol Junqueras’ sentence for sedition, has assured the court he was not in Urquinaona square. In response to questions by the Prosecutor and his lawyer, Esther Anglès, he explained that he went to Barcelona with three friends by car and went to the La Rambla. In the evening, two Spanish police officers identified him at Arc de Triumf; searched his backpack and returned it to him and, “with racist comments”, he said, asked him what he was doing there,” said Oleksandr.
Three of Oleksandr’s friends —“childhood friends”— confirmed they parked in the Barceloneta neighbourhood and went to La Rambla, and did not take part in the protest, where they admitted that they saw altercations. They denied that Oleksandr threw any firecrackers, and confirmed the police made “racist comments” to him.
Erik B., a resident of Terrassa, defended by Marta Bolinches, also assured the court he did not go to the demonstration, “I am not interested in politics”, said Erik and that he went to his former partner’s grandmother’s house that day. In the evening, he was identified near Arc de Triomf: “An officer put a truncheon on my neck”, he declared, as well as identifying him and taking his mobile phone number. Oleksandr and Erik were arrested on October 30th at their homes. Erik was held in custody for about five days, and Colomines for about a month.
Oleksandr answered “I would never think of it”, when the prosecutor asked him if he threw “a firecracker or a projectile” at the police that night. The prosecutor’s office is asking the young man from Arenys to compensate an officer with a total of 44,872 euros for injuries and sequelae: the loss of mild bilateral hearing acuity; and a second officer, with about 10,000 euros for injuries and a loss of average hearing acuity. These damages are questioned by the defence.
Regarding the sentences, the prosecutor asks for the young man from Arenys to be sentenced to 4 years in prison for the crime of public disorders with aggravating circumstances of carrying a dangerous instrument, doing so at a demonstration and throwing blunt objects; 5 years in prison for the crime of assault and battery in conjunction with a less serious crime of injury, and 5 more years for the crime of less serious injury with a dangerous instrument.
However, a second officer said he identified him, and he was arrested because “he was calling the shots”. He also assured that Colomines’ injuries were because “he resisted arrest”, and took him to an ambulance.
“Oleksandr, wearing a dark sweatshirt with a yellow stripe, and Erik, wearing orange gloves, were at the protest, said they “worked in coordination,” said a third officer and that when he identified them he asked his superior to arrest them afterward. This agent is one of those who suffered hearing problems due to the launching of the pyrotechnic device, attributed to the young man from Arenys de Mar, although he has not detailed what it was.
The trial continues on Thursday, with the statement of the experts, and the final reports, where the prosecutor has to decide whether to maintain these exorbitant prison sentences.
Produced in association with El Nacional En
Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager
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