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BREAKING NEWS

Jailed Catalan separatists can be sworn in as lawmakers - court

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MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed five jailed Catalan separatist leaders to be sworn in as lawmakers next week, but said it would not free them or grant them immunity as their trial for their role in an independence bid proceeds.

In Spain's general election on April 28 Oriol Junqueras, Josep Rull, Jordi Turull and Jordi Sanchez won seats in the lower house of parliament, and Raul Romeva won an upper chamber seat.

Catalonia, which briefly declared independence in 2017 after a referendum deemed illegal by Spanish courts, was a central issue in the run-up to the election and regional parties favouring independence could play a part in supporting acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's attempts to form a government.

Last week, a Madrid court ruled that former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, who fled to Belgium in 2017 to escape arrest for his role in the independence referendum, could run in the European Parliament election on May 26.

(Reporting by Belen Carreno, writing by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Ingrid Melander)

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