Spain’s Supreme Court on Friday turned down a request from a jailed Catalan separatist leader to attend the northeastern region’s parliament session, where lawmakers are due to vote on whether to make him president of Catalonia.
Judge Pablo Llarena wrote in a ruling that there was a risk that Jordi Sanchez would repeat the offenses that have landed him in jail. He ordered Sanchez kept in preventive detention without bail.
Sanchez, a prominent secessionist who was elected to parliament last December, has been held in a prison near Madrid since October. He is being detained while Llarena investigates whether he orchestrated protests that hindered officials trying to stop a court-banned Catalan independence referendum that month.
Catalonia’s parliament wants to vote on Sanchez as leader Monday in the latest confrontation with the Spanish government, which argues that anyone who is facing charges and is unable to be present at the debate and vote can’t be elected by the Catalan parliament. It isn’t clear whether Sanchez would have enough votes to be elected in Barcelona.
The Spanish Constitution says Spain is “indivisible,” but that hasn’t stopped separatists trying to break away despite repeated legal setbacks.
Carles Puigdemont, Catalonia’s ex-leader who fled to Brussels to escape arrest, announced last week that he was temporarily withdrawing his bid to get his old job back and proposed Sanchez – his No. 2 in the Together for Catalonia party – in his place.