President in court again for second disobedience case over pro-independence banners
Quim Torra uses his right to not answer cross-examination just days or weeks away from his potential ousting for a similar case
Just a week after his Supreme Court hearing that could see him removed from power, Catalan president Quim Torra was back facing the courts again on Wednesday.
The politician appeared before the High Court of Catalonia for again hanging the banner in favor of the jailed and exiled pro-independence leaders from the government headquarters building – his first disobedience case, for which he was convicted pending the Supreme Court appeal, stemmed from Torra failing to remove the same banner on time during the spring 2019 electoral campaign.
A complaint from the unionist civil organization Impulso Ciudadano was made against the president in July 2019, and the High Court forced him to remove it two months later, something he failed to do within the set deadline – subsequently, the magistrates opened the second disobedience case against him.
The alleged crime is the same one as in the first case, and the events also followed the same pattern: Torra rejecting to remove the signs on time, but doing it after the deadline had expired.
The differences between both cases are the institution instructing him to take down the banner – the electoral authority in the first one and the High Court in the second one –, and the fact that in the first one an electoral period was involved, unlike in autumn 2019.
In this second case, the inquiry is still underway and he has been summoned as investigated, so a trial for these events is still not confirmed.
The Supreme Court is expected to make a final decision on the first case in the coming days or weeks, which could see Torra barred from office before the second one reaches its conclusion, but if his conviction for the first one is overturned by Spain's top judges, then the Catalan president could yet be ousted if found guilty with this one.
Torra rejects answering to cross-examination
After arriving in court accompanied by vice president Pere Aragonès, government spokesperson Meritxell Budó and representatives of JxCat, ERC, and CUP, the main pro-independence parties, Quim Torra gave a brief speech in which he explained why he was invoking his right to not respond to the cross-examination by the prosecutor's office.
According to Torra, "the High Court of Catalonia is not neutral."
"The sentence has already been determined and this trial is part of a political persecution against the independence movement," he added.