MADRID (AP) — Prosecutors in Spain are bringing charges of disobedience against Catalan regional president Quim Torra after he allegedly failed to comply with orders from the country's electoral board, while Torra launched his own legal action against Madrid-based authorities.
Prosecutors said in a statement Wednesday the charges relate to Torra's alleged failure to remove eye-catching pro-independence symbols from the regional government's headquarters in Barcelona before Spain's April 28 general election.
The electoral board deemed the yellow ribbon symbols to be an unacceptable "tool of political propaganda." Elected officials and public institutions are prohibited from expressing support for one particular party or ideological position during a campaign period.
The yellow ribbon symbol is used to express support for Catalan separatist leaders who have been prosecuted for their role in a failed attempt to declare independence in 2017 or have gone into self-imposed exile.
Torra argued the symbols are a matter of free speech and requested a postponement of the deadline to remove them.
Later Wednesday, Torra in turn launched legal action against members of the electoral board, accusing them of "prevarication" — a legal term indicating an attempt or scheme to pervert the truth.
Torra and his pro-secession allies have been a thorn in the side of the national government, refusing to drop their demands for Catalonia's independence despite repeated legal setbacks. The Spanish Constitution says Spain is indivisible.
Judges will assess the evidence provided by state prosecutors and Torra's lawyer before deciding whether to proceed to trial.