THE Catalan parliament executive – which runs the institution – has voted to open a lawsuit against Spanish Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena for alleged perversion of justice, after he blocked the investiture of jailed MP Jordi Sanchez as president.

Yesterday was the second time the court has blocked the appointment of Sanchez. After four months without a government, he was due to be sworn in yesterday, but Llarena argued that a UN Committee on Human Rights’ statement urging Spain to respect his political rights, was “non-binding”.

Independence supporter Sanchez heads the grass-roots Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and the judge said there was a high risk of a repeated offence should he become president.

Spanish Justice Minister, Rafael Catala, warned Catalan parliament speaker, Roger Torrent, that the lawsuit could be a misuse of public funds – one of the charges levelled against members of the deposed Catalan cabinet.

Catala said: “I think they’re making a mistake, trying to intimidate or threaten a judge.”

Torrent, meanwhile, in a speech to an annual event remembering Republican victims of the Franco dictatorship which ended 40 years ago, said: “Some Francoist and fascist values are still present. They never completely disappeared.”

The speaker likened “attacks with Nazi symbols” in Catalonia to the Spanish government’s attitude to the independence movement, and said the current climate was one that gave impunity to attacks by fascist groups.

He said: “Hate, violence, and repression against those who think differently... We’re experiencing a clear situation of regression.

“We must decry that the Spanish government continues... to revisit the past.”