JAILED former Catalan home affairs minister Joaquim Forn is to run on a pro-independence ticket to become the next mayor of Barcelona.

He was in charge of home affairs in Catalonia in 2017 – through the Barcelona terror attacks in August that year and the independence referendum that led to him facing charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds, which have seen him in pre-trial detention for 447 days.

Prosecutors are seeking a 16-year jail term and a ban from public office.

In a statement announcing his mayoral bid, Forn said: “I have taken the decision to head an integrating, trustworthy and inclusive candidacy in order to win Barcelona’s mayorship.

“I am running for mayor because I have that right, and not doing so would be to accept the arguments of those who have artificially constructed the narrative keeping me in prison.”

However, should he win the election in May, it is unlikely that Forn will be allowed to take office from behind bars.

The Spanish judiciary has put in place a temporary suspension on all the jailed former members of the Catalan Parliament from holding public office until after their verdicts are announced.

They previously refused to allow former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont to be sworn in again because he did not appear in person in parliament from his exile in Belgium – where he fled to avoid being indicted on sedition and rebellion charges.

This will raise the importance of the candidate who comes in second place, and would likely have the best chance of becoming Barcelona’s mayor. The field of candidates includes the incumbent Ada Colau and Manuel Valls, a former French foreign minister.

Forn’s daughter, Anna, told The National she welcomed his decision to stand as Barcelona’s mayor: “I am happy for him and I support everything he decides to do. He knows and loves the city and has a plan for it.

“He is critical about the current city government and not only because they defend different city models.

”I guess it is no secret that Barcelona had always been his project, and for what he has always worked. And I think being in jail should not prevent him from running in the sense that up until now his political rights are intact, or they should be.

“Taking these decisions is in the end a way to assert/vindicate them as well. But as I said he has a project, in jail he’s had time to reflect on it and a judge should not deprive people from choosing the option they want.

“And beyond this, as a daughter I am happy that he is looking at the future with hope and that he has energy and enthusiasm to continue doing what he likes and believes in.”

Meanwhile, in a letter to Spain’s ministry of home affairs, judges have indicated that the trials of the pro-independence leaders are expected to start around February 5.

The leaders are in jail near Barcelona but are expected to be moved to Madrid, where the trials will be held.

Trial schedules are expected to be unveiled in the coming days, although they are expected to run every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for as many weeks, or months, they may take.