Freedom of speech and fundamental rights: these were two of the arguments Quim Torra’s defense used on Thursday in order to ask the Spanish Supreme Court to overturn the Catalan president’s disqualification. The Catalan president is pending a final appeal on his conviction for failing to remove signs in favor of the political prisoners on time during an election campaign in spring 2019.

Lawyer Gonzalo Boye argued that hanging the banners on public buildings, including the government headquarters in Barcelona, was a “political act” and, therefore, Torra was protected by his immunity as Catalan MP. During the one-hour hearing in the Supreme Court in Madrid, Boye said that his failure to abide by should not lead to a guilty sentence because he was using his freedom of speech and his fundamental right of political participation.

Boye also argued that Spain’s electoral board was not impartial when acting against the pro-independence signs – Boye referred to the fact that one of the board’s members was found to be at the same time an advisor for unionist Ciudadanos, the party that first complained to the electoral authority. Torra’s lawyer also argued that the one-day trial that saw him disqualified pending the appeal in December 2019 was “not partial” either. He believes some of its members are clearly unionists and they rejected his plea to take the case to the European Court of Justice before making their decision.

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