Prosecutor requests former president Torra's disqualification in second case over banner
Politician was already ousted from power after similar case ended in conviction for disobedience
Former Catalan president Quim Torra will face a second trial over failing to remove a banner in solidarity with the jailed and exiled independence leaders ahead of an election campaign in September 2019 – and the public prosecutor is seeking a similar conviction to the one he was given in 2020, which ended up in him being ousted from power.
The attorney general has requested a 20-month ban from public office and a €30,000-fine for events that will be tried in the Catalan high court. Torra received an 18-month disqualification and a €30,000-fine following his first trial with a conviction that was upheld by the Supreme Court.
The Catalan high court will try the former leader for a second time on a yet-to-be-announced date in a procedure that could end like the first. In both instances, Torra failed to abide by court orders to remove a banner calling for "freedom for political prisoners and exiles," in reference to those behind bars or abroad after the 2017 independence push. And both times, the ex-head of the government ordered for the signs to be taken down after the set deadline.
The second time, the court initially gave Torra 48 hours after September 23, 2019 to remove the banner. It was eventually taken down on September 27, after the 48 hour period had passed, and following electoral board threats to send the Catalan police to enforce the ruling.
The politician was asked to remove the banner from the government HQ on the grounds that public buildings had to remain neutral, but he rejected this reasoning by invoking the right to freedom of speech and political participation.
First trial over banner row
In the trial he faced for the first case involving pro-independence signs, the former leader argued that the electoral board "had no right to issue such an order."
Torra's guilty sentence, upheld by the Supreme Court in September 2020, led to him being ousted from power and the Catalan government becoming a caretaker one without a president. An election and three-month-long talks between the main parties for a split with Spain ended up in a new government taking office on Wednesday after a seven-month vacuum of power.