Spain’s Supreme Court has denied a petition from jailed pro-independence leaders for temporary freedom in order to assume their posts as ministers in the new government of Catalonia, to be formed on Wednesday.

The Spanish government deposed Jordi Turull and Josep Rull following a declaration of independence last October. Quim Torra, the newly elected Catalan president, promised to reinstate all officials dismissed by Madrid—including those ministers who are currently in jail or seeking refuge abroad.

Judge Pablo Llarena dismissed their requests for freedom over the risk of repeat offending, which according to him has increased following Torra’s promise of continuing to work for the independence of Catalonia.

Political prisoners

Turull and Rull were preemptively sent to jail on March 23, accused of rebellion and misuse of public funds for their role in the independence bid. It was the second time they entered prison after having spent a month in jail last December.

There are currently nine pro-independence leaders jailed in Madrid and seven seeking refuge from the Spanish judiciary in other European countries.

Llarena alleged that should Rull and Turull be granted the temporary freedom to assume their posts, they could flee the country to avoid prosecution, thus posing difficulties to the ongoing investigation.

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