POLICE officers’ statements at the Catalan independence trial are suspected of being rehearsed, according to a team of international observers.

The three members of International Trial Watch made their remarks in a report on the seventh week of the trial against former pro-indy Catalan ministers and cultural leaders.

They warned that as the trial is being broadcast live, the preparation of evidence would “contaminate” the witnesses.

Their report said: “Words such as ‘hatred, tumult, mass, powder keg, insurrection, fear’, although they are subjective valuations that in no way relate the defendants to the imputed facts, have sounded insistently in the chamber. The use of expressions so similar could denote both that such statements would be orchestrated and prepared, as the fact that the trial broadcast live would contaminate the witnesses.

“Despite such statements, and in view of the evidence so far provided, a lack of proportionality between the evidence and the charges pursued by the prosecution is found.”

The observers have also identified a new “procedural problem” – the cross-examination of Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Baena, head of the Spanish Civil Guard unit in Catalonia, who admitted to previously being fined for an offence under Spain’s penal code, “on torture and other felonies against moral integrity”.

Manuel Marchena, the lead judge did not allow Baena’s oral evidence to be compared with his earlier statements. Questions the defence had asked, they said, “revealed that the object of the investigation, which began in 2015, was not concrete facts but a political movement”.

They said this was a “prospective investigation” that would highlight two issues: “That this could be a political process … and if it were demonstrated that the operational director of the investigations … did not act with absolute neutrality and impartiality as required by law … it would be evidence of the lack of credibility of the witness himself.”

Meanwhile, nine Barcelona voters who complained about police brutality after being hurt when Civil Guard officers tried to stop the 2017 poll, could be investigated by the Spanish prosecutor’s office. It is claimed they had a “rebel will” to delay the police action and could face charges of “serious disobedience”.