DEMONSTRATIONS are being held in Barcelona today amid renewed calls for the release of jailed and exiled Catalan pro-independence figures facing rebellion charges following a German court’s refusal to extradite former president Carles Puigdemont for the same crime.

Lawyers for those in prisons near Barcelona – Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Turull, Josep Rull, Jordi Cuixart, Joaquim Forn, Oriol Junqueras, Raül Romeva, Carme Forcadell and Dolores Bassa – are expected to move a writ for their freedom next week.

It comes after the Schleswig-Holstein state court ruled on Spain’s request to extradite Puigdemont, saying: “Extradition for charges of rebellion is inadmissible.”

Lawyer Andreu Van den Eynde, representing former vice president Junqueras and ex-minister Romeva, yesterday told journalists in Barcelona: “We have to demand the release of our clients again.

“Everyone with their documentation, but we will all be united in front of the trial room, where we will present this writ of freedom.

“Our request is to solve two problems at the same time. The freedom of the prisoners and that in the new context, the prosecutor’s office, can solve a problem of their own and clear their mistrust.

“It’s a win-win.”

Jailed Sànchez spoke for most when he tweeted: “If a court has made it clear that there was no rebellion or sedition or public disorder, [why are we] locked up in prison, awaiting trial, without procedural guarantees?”

The lawyers’ confidence will be pitted against Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena, who has been dogged in his pursuit of those who played any role in the October 1 Catalan independence referendum and subsequent declaration of independence.

His targets include Clara Ponsati, a St Andrews University professor who, as education minister, was responsible for giving the order to open the schools used as polling stations and who is also facing a rebellion charge. Her extradition hearing is scheduled to start in Edinburgh at the end of this month.

The German court joined those in Belgium and Switzerland which also rejected the rebellion charges.

Reports in Catalonia yesterday suggested that Llarena would withdraw the extradition request against Puigdemont for rebellion which, under normal circumstances, would have a knock-on effect on those in jail.

However, Spain’s legal system is far from normal – it is the only country in Europe to have its senior judicial figures appointed through a politicised process by the party in power, which has previously attracted criticism from the Council of Europe.

Before reaching the lofty heights of the Supreme Court in 2016, for example, Llarena, was president of a conservative judicial association and had not been in charge of a criminal investigation for a considerable time.

He is unlikely to seek Puigdemont’s extradition simply over an allegation of misusing public funds in the indyref campaign – too many people have testified that no public money was used – so he is left with the hot potato of what to do about the alleged rebellion.

For his part, Puigdemont appears to be preparing his return – at least spiritually – to the Catalan capital Barcelona.

The newspaper El Nacional said his office will be in the Palau Centelles. The official journal of the Generalitat (Catalan government) also noted the appointment of Josep Lluís Alay as director, “responsible for the office of the ex-president”.