Spain court considers removal of Catalan chief 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.

Catalan regional president Quim Torra is attending 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, during which 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 for the separatist cause favored pro-secession parties running for election.

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

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