William Aitken and his partner

William Aitken, who has lived in Barcelona for more than four years, was arrested one month ago in the Catalan capital as protests raged in support of rapper Pablo Hasel, who was jailed because of his lyrics criticising the Spanish monarchy. Aitken has been accused of public order offences and was alleged to have taken part in the protests, some of which turned into riots. The police accuses him of crossing containers, tearing cobblestones off the ground and throwing them at Catalan police vans.

The 30-year-old’s partner, Fernanda Soler, told Aitken had gone skateboarding on the night he was arrested, while she stayed at their home. She said: “We weren’t together that night, he went skateboarding and I was at home waiting for him. On 17 February at night they took him to a police station and the next day to Brians 1 prison because he was seen as a flight risk after Brexit.”

Soler said she and lawyer David Aranda had worked to sort out Aitken’s paperwork to ensure he did not lose his job and prepared for an appeal against his “preventative detention”. The lawyer said he had been kept in jail as a foreigner – because the judge had considered him a citizen of the UK which was no longer a member of the EU. However, the lawyer said he had appealed to a higher court: “Our appeal is waiting to be send to the Audiencia Provincial. We will have some answer in maybe three or four weeks.”

“We have seen him already three times”, said his partner. “He is doing well and is being treated well. He is trying to keep himself busy with Spanish classes, sports with his cell mate and friends he made in the prison. He has also started to receive letters from friends, so he is happier.” Political and civic groups had urged social media users to write to the Scot at the prison where he is being held.

[This article is based on a piece written by Greg Russell in Scotland’s The National and reproduced with his kind permission].

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