Spain’s lower house of parliament on Friday suspended four jailed separatist lawmakers who are on trial over their role in Catalonia’s failed independence bid in 2017.

The four men were elected on April 28 in a national election that delivered a deeply fragmented parliament.

Catalonia’s independence drive has overshadowed Spanish politics for years and is a major test for Pedro Sanchez’s Socialists after they won an election last month but fell short of a majority.

The jailed Catalans’ appearance in parliament on Tuesday, along with a 24-strong contingent of far-right lawmakers, led to a rowdy opening session.

Citing Spanish legislation and advice from the house’s legal experts, parliamentary speaker Meritxell Batet, told reporters on Friday: “Based on all these legal elements, we have to automatically declare that their rights as lawmakers are suspended.”

Batet, a Socialist, had over the past days insisted that the decision, which right-wing parties said should have come much faster, would not be political.

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