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Defiant Catalan leader calls for detained separatists to be part of government

Quim Torra has called for Jordi Turull and Josep Rull to become government ministers.

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Catalonia’s newly elected president is showing no sign of backing down from the region’s political stand-off with Spanish authorities, insisting he wants detained former politicians to join his pro-independence Catalan government.

Quim Torra said Jordi Turull and Josep Rull, prominent secessionists who are in pre-trial detention, are keen to become government ministers and have asked a judge to release them.

Mr Torra visited them at their jails near Madrid on Monday.

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Mr Torra has struck a defiant tone after taking office (AP)

Mr Torra has struck a defiant tone after taking office (AP)

AP/PA Images

Mr Torra has struck a defiant tone after taking office (AP)

But Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy said he will not grant Catalonia independence, nor will he allow anyone under criminal investigation to take office there.

Mr Torra also wants Antoni Comin and Lluis Puig, separatists who fled to Belgium, in his cabinet.

The Catalan president’s four choices were members of a regional government dismissed by Mr Rajoy following October’s illegal declaration of independence by MPs in the legislature.

PA