Charles Andrew Pittman, a 30-year-old American citizen living in Barcelona who was jailed for five months as a result of the pro-independence protests of 2019, has finally been acquitted. The prosecution asked for six years in prison and demanded that once he had served four years, he had to be expelled from Spain.
As explained by the Alerta Solidària group of lawyers, on the general strike of 18 October 2019, Pittman was in the center of Barcelona looking for material in a container when he was arrested by two local police officers. In his backpack he had tooth whitener. The version of the two agents was that he was carrying flammable material and that he intended to burn the container. That was enough to arrest him, imprison him and keep him in prison for five months.
In fact, he was charged with a felony of damage by fire and a felony of public disorder, although the container in question received no damage and a defense report reveals that no damage attributable to any incident is recognized, because there was no fire. This has been one of the reasons for the acquittal.
After the protests, the Barcelona High Court denied his freedom, arguing that he was a foreigner and that the sentences requested by the prosecutor were high. He was finally released from Brians Prison in March 2020.
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