Spain’s Supreme Court will hold a hearing on Catalan president Quim Torra’s legal case preliminarily scheduled for September 17. If the judges confirm the disqualification ruled by the Catalan high court (TSJC), Torra will be ousted from his position.

The president faced trial for failing to comply in time with an order from the Electoral Board to remove symbols deemed “partisan” from the front of the government building in Barcelona in the run-up to the Spanish general election at the end of April 2019.

Torra initially refused, before eventually changing the hanging banner to one defending freedom of speech, but not until after the deadline he was given to remove the yellow ribbon banner had passed. In court, the president argued that the electoral board “had no right to issue such an order” for him to remove the banner.

Illegal order

Torra went on to admit to the court that he had “disobeyed” Spain’s electoral authority by failing to remove the symbols, but he added that “complying with an illegal order was impossible.” He denied that the expression ‘political prisoners’ that featured on the banner was partisan, arguing that “it is a way of speaking allowed by freedom of speech.”

The yellow ribbons became the symbol of solidarity with the Catalan leaders tried and sentenced to prison by the Supreme Court over the bid to split from Spain in 2017.

After they were arrested in the aftermath of the unilateral independence referendum in autumn 2017, people sympathetic to their cause have worn yellow ribbons or hung them from buildings, including many public buildings.

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