Catalan President Quim Torra arrived at the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia Monday to stand trial for refusing to remove pro-independence symbols from public buildings during the 2019 Spanish general and EU elections.
State prosecutors are demanding Torra be banned from holding public office for failing to obey the order of the Spanish electoral commission, Presstv Reported.
At the heart of the controversy, this banner that used to hang outside the regional government's building and which read "freedom for political prisoners and exiles". Spain's electoral body wanted the banner removed to ensure political neutrality ahead of the vote. The banner was eventually removed along with yellow ribbons that came to symbolize support for jailed Catalan civic and political leaders.
Torra has admitted to disobeying the electoral body's order arguing he chose to comply with what he described as a "higher mandate to defend human rights". He questioned the impartiality of the electoral commission and called the order "illegal".
Quim Torra could be fined and banned from holding public office for one year and eight months. His lawyer said plans to appeal to Spain's Supreme Court in case of a guilty verdict.
Torra's trial opens a new front in the legal battles that Spain has been waging against the pro-independence movement. Many here fear that the more courts get involved the fewer prospects for a political solution to the conflict.