Spain court considers Catalan leader’s removal from office

MADRID (AP) — Spain’s Supreme Court is hearing lawyers’ closing arguments over whether to bar Catalonia’s separatist-minded regional leader from public office.

Regional President Quim Torra on Thursday attended the final hearing of his appeal of a ruling by a lower court last year. That court, in Barcelona, ruled that Torra was unfit to hold public office for 18 months for having violated electoral law.

Torra had refused to remove a banner reading “Free Political Prisoners and Exiles” during an official election campaign period, when public officials are prohibited from using public buildings to display political propaganda.

The court said that the banner’s message in favor of the release from prison of politicians and activists who had broken the law to promote the cause of Catalonia’s independence favored pro-secession parties in the election.

Torra has been allowed to remain in power during the appeal process.

The court’s ruling is expected in the coming days.