Supreme Court 9 Jan ruled that Catalan leader Oriol Junqueras, currently serving a 13-year prison sentence for sedition and misuse of funds, cannot take up his seat as Member of European Parliament (MEP); European Court of Justice ruled last month that Junqueras had immunity from prosecution as an elected MEP when he was convicted by Spanish courts in Oct 2019. Trial of former Catalan police chief Josep Lluís Trapero, along with three other officials, began 20 Jan over alleged role in disputed Oct 2017 independence referendum; Trapero stands accused of rebellion and faces up to eleven years in prison. Catalonia regional govt 27 Jan removed voting powers of regional govt president Quim Torra, sparking protests from pro-independence supporters; move follows 23 Jan supreme court decision to strip Torra of his seat until a final sentence is made over his public ban for office. Torra 29 Jan announced plans for snap regional election; in reversal of previous position, central govt next day promised to begin talks over Catalonia dispute with regional govt prior to election.
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