Eight former Catalan cabinet members currently in custody awaiting trial will appear before the Supreme Court on Friday, after requesting their release ahead of a regional election Dec. 21 in the wake of a disputed independence referendum.

Sacked regional vice-president Oriol Junqueras, one of his ERC party’s main candidates for the election, has asked to be allowed to leave jail in order to campaign in the vote which was called by Madrid.

Junqueras and seven other former members of the Catalonia regional cabinet were jailed on Nov. 2 pending trial on charges of sedition, rebellion and misappropriation of funds after the Catalan government declared independence from Spain.

The Oct. 1 referendum, declared unconstitutional by Spain, and the subsequent proclamation of independence by the wealthy northeastern region pushed Spain into its worst political crisis in decades and led Madrid to impose direct rule on Barcelona.

The eight jailed cabinet members, whose original hearing was at the Spanish High Court, had their case moved to the Supreme Court after the presiding judge argued the different Catalan cases should be tried in the same court.

Earlier November, the Supreme Court released Catalan parliament speaker Carme Forcadell on bail of 150,000 euros after she agreed to renounce any political activity that went against the Spanish constitution.

All the eight former cabinet members have said they would abide by a ruling giving Madrid control over the region, according to their lawyers, although some of them said they did not agree with this unprecedented move stripping power from the rebel administration.

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