- Courts The Mossos believe that Interior appointed adviser to a former bodyguard of Puigdemont to deal with the security of the former president
For the first time since 2017, former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont testified in a trial related to the independence process. He did so, by videoconference from Belgium, as a witness in the one held in the Audience of Barcelona against the former Minister of Interior Miquel Buch and the agent of Mossos d'Esquadra, Lluís Escolà, accused of prevarication and embezzlement by appointing as an advisor to the Department of Interior the policeman so that he could allegedly perform escort tasks for Puigdemont during his stay abroad.
However, Puigdemont denied this claim by maintaining that the Mosso "is a person of whom I am a friend, a person who deserves all my trust. Lluís Escolà is a patriot who if he is in this trial is because he has rendered a very great service to the country, and for no other reason "and who accompanied him to Belgium, after his escape after the application of 155 in 2017, as well as in other trips through Europe for the friendly relationship they had. "I have been able to be accompanied, but they have never been escorts, because the bodyguards carry weapons, bulletproof vests and extendable batons. That has never been carried by anyone, it would be contrary to current legislation, "said Puigdemont who on more than one occasion asked the Generalitat to have security, like the rest of former ministers, but from the Ministry of Interior that should authorize it refused.
On Escolà, the former president said that "I have seen him sacrifice his private life even to be able to accompany me at times when the Spanish authorities neglected their duty to guarantee my protection" and regarding his appointment as security advisor to the Minister of Interior in 2018 he added that "I thought it was a very good idea, because of his experience in the matter". Puigdemont also explained that all the Mossos who were with him in Waterloo were not a single day in official functions as police.
The Prosecutor's Office asks for 6 years in prison and 27 years of disqualification to Buch and 4 and a half years in prison and 23 years of disqualification to Sergeant Lluís Escolà considering that he was appointed advisor to continue exercising, with public funds, escort of the former president after 155. According to the public accusation, the appointment as advisor of the sergeant of the Mossos who served as Puigdemont's escort in October 2017 and who helped him escape from Spain, constituted an act of "mere arbitrariness", motivated by the "exclusive will" of the former Minister of Interior Miquel Buch to procure, from the Government and charged to public funds, "A permanent 'escort' service" for the former president. The prosecutor maintains that the sergeant, who made numerous trips abroad to accompany Puigdemont, "appeared" to prepare studies and reports as an advisor, although all on a "miscellany of absolutely varied and disparate topics", "full of generalities" and with material "easily" obtainable on the internet, containing information of "basic character".
Puigdemont acknowledged that Escolà and "other patriots" helped him in his escape from Spain although he assured that at no time did he ask him to evade any order of justice, because "when I left for Belgium there was no arrest warrant." In addition, he declared in the trial that he agreed with the former minister Miquel Buch to hire Lluís Escolà to do protection and escort tasks for him for what he considers that "if he is in a trial it is only because he is a patriot and has presented a service when the Spanish State has denied me my rights as a former president and that he is only being judged for that. "
In addition to Puigdemont, in the trial the head of the bodyguards of the Generalitat until January 2018 declared that he was dedicated to organizing the security devices who added that Escolà was a recognized policeman who on October 29, 2017 asked to go on vacation. Two days earlier he helped Puigdemont flee to Belgium, which he did not communicate to his superiors and which meant that other bodyguards were waiting outside Puigdemont's house without knowing it was empty. In addition, the witness explained that Escolà suffers from back problems and that is why he could not act as a bodyguard, but supervise devices since he speaks several languages.
Buch and Lluís Escolà will testify in court on July 13. In the first sessions of the trial the former dome of Interior defended the appointment of the adviser and that they complied with the order of the Government not to provide an escort to Puigdemont after the 155. That is why they indicated that the sergeant's trips to accompany the former president, when he was appointed adviser, were "in a personal capacity."
- Mossos d'Esquadra
- Generalitat of Catalonia
- Carles Puigdemont
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