THE Catalan Parliament’s governing body will decide today how to respond to a legal order to suspend six jailed or exiled MPs who are facing rebellion charges, including sacked president Carles Puigdemont and his deputy Oriol Junqueras.

Elected members who are facing prosecution for terrorism or rebellion and who are subject to a detention order can be suspended from public office while their case is decided.

Their suspension and replacement was ordered by Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llarena last week and could have seen the pro-independence lobby lose its slim majority in the parliament.

However, parliamentary lawyers put forward a solution to allow the six MPs affected to avoid relinquishing their seats by replacing them with temporary members.

This would enable them to retain their voting rights – in much the same way as they do now – by being paired with a fellow MP who votes for them, a system that is permitted by the Spanish penal code.

Catalan Parliament speaker Roger Torrent said yesterday that he would do all he could to defend the MPs’ “political rights”, while unionist parties said he should comply with the judicial decision.

Opposition came from the Ciutadans (Citizens) and People’s Party of Catalonia (PPC), which described the move as a “fraud”.

The Spanish executive, meanwhile, has launched an appeal against a motion from the Catalan Parliament reaffirming the government’s political objectives – independence – which was approved by Together for Catalonia (JxCat), the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and the Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP).

It justified its appeal as a way of defending the Spanish Constitution and the Statute of Catalonia.

However, it did not warn members of the government of any criminal consequences they could face, unlike the events that transpired under Mariano Rajoy’s government.

The Constitutional Court (TC) has suspended the Catalan motion and given parliament 20 days to respond.

Elsewhere, the pro-independence group Omnium Cultural has produced an online video featuring Noam Chomsky, Pep Guardiola and other public figures, who are calling for the nine political prisoners who are currently imprisoned to be released.

Some have been in jail for nine months awaiting trial for their part in last October’s referendum and the subsequent declaration of Catalan independence – among them is Omnium’s president Jordi Cuixart.

Philosopher, historian and political activist Chomsky and Jody Williams, the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, tell viewers: “Freedom of opinion, expression and assembly, the right to vote, the freedom to dissent, are human rights that must be respected in a democracy.”

“We demand Spanish institutions stop the ideological repression,” says Guardiola, the Catalan manager of Manchester City, while journalist Martín Caparrós, adds: “We are very concerned that in Spain every time there are more investigated people.”

The campaign motto is: “We demand justice and freedom,” echoing the defence of freedom of speech that has been a constant throughout this crisis.

It reminds viewers that some politicians are charged with offences which are punishable by prison terms in excess of 30 years, and demands that Spain solve the conflict “through dialogue”.

Human rights lawyer Ben Emmerson, who has raised the prisoners’ cases in the United Nations, says in the video: “In Catalonia, civil and political rights are at stake.”

Geert Bourgeois, minister-president of Flanders, said yesterday, after meeting Catalan president Quim Torra, that the jailed or exiled “never engaged in any violent act or called for violence”.

He added: “It’s not violence, and the case is in conflict with the Charter of Fundamental rights.”