Former Catalan president disqualified in second disobedience case

Quim Torra was removed from power in 2020 after he refused to remove a freedom banner from government HQ

Montserrat Serra
11.05.2022 - 15:18
Actualització: 13.06.2022 - 10:12

Former Catalan president Quim Torra was disqualified from public office for 15 months and fined with 24,000 for a disobedience case involving a pro-independence banner that he refused to remove on time from the government headquarters in the run-up of an election, thus disobeying an electoral board mandate, as found by a Catalan court.

Yet, this was not the first time he was barred from public office, since Torra was also convicted for disobedience in 2020 for the same reason in a previous campaign, which led to his removal from the presidency post and the 14 February 2021 snap election.

On Wednesday, Barcelona’s local criminal court number 6 ruled that the politician disobeyed the electoral court in September 2019, during the electoral period leading to the November 2019 Spanish election, when failing to remove a banner in favor of the then jailed pro-independence leaders and those in exile after their role in the 2017 independence referendum.

Banner during electoral period

‘Free political prisoners and exiles,’ read the banner hanging from the government HQ, in Barcelona’s Plaça Sant Jaume until 27 September 2019, when Torra ordered its removal but only beyond the deadline given by the electoral authority and with the police sent to take it down. The unionist organization Impulso Ciudadano launched a lawsuit against Torra alleging that the banner was a partisan symbol, and therefore should not be hanging from the government building during an electoral period.

In March, Torra refused to attend his own trial for this case, because he saw it as “political.” The former president said in his statement that he would not legitimize a new “repressive pantomime disguised as justice” and asked for protection in international courts. Yet, he was tried in absentia.

Torra already serving disqualification sentence

Spain’s Supreme Court confirmed on 28 September 2020 that Catalan president Quim Torra was guilty of disobedience for displaying signs in solidarity with the jailed pro-independence leaders on public buildings during the electoral period preceding the spring 2019 Spanish, local and European elections.

In dismissing Torra’s appeal, the top court upheld a previous verdict banning the Catalan head of government from holding public office for 18 months — the second time in three years that a Catalan president was sacked, after Carles Puigdemont’s removal in the wake of the 2017 independence push.

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