AN international human rights lawyer has said the continued pre-trial detention of nine Catalan pro-independence figures will only “accelerate” their cause.

Ben Emmerson, a British QC who is part of exiled president Carles Puigdemont’s legal team, said their freedom was “inevitable”.

He said the decision of a German court not to extradite Puigdemont on a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) to face a charge of rebellion in Spain also affected those in jail charged with the same offence.

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“The German decision, which led to the withdrawal of the EAWs, has implications for political prisoners,” Emmerson told Catalonia Radio.

“The German court says that nothing the Catalan politicians did could be considered in any way an incitement to rebellion or sedition.

“Outside of the Spanish ‘bubble’, the world sees that what they did is neither sedition nor rebellion nor a coup d’etat. The Spanish courts apply the legislation in a very peculiar way,” he said, adding that the ghost of dictator Francisco Franco was still palpable in structures of the Spanish state.

Emmerson’s remarks came as Spain’s Supreme Court rejected another bid for freedom from the pro-indy leaders.

While Puigdemont and other ministers fled Catalonia and are now exiled in Europe, including Clara Ponsati in Scotland, ministers and pro-indy figures who remained in Catalonia were locked up in “pre-emptive detention”.

Magistrates agreed with investigating judge Pablo Llarena that they should remain locked up because of “the gravity of the offences for which they were indicted”.

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The court also believed that with their trial due in the coming months, they posed a flight risk.

The Catalan President Quim Torra reacted angrily on social media, tweeting: “It is a political issue that must be resolved politically. Indecency is a keep political prisoners in jail. In Europe the exiles are free. This cause is a farce, minister.

“We demand the release of prisoners and the return of exiles.”