The lawyers of Eric, a United States citizen who was arrested in Barcelona last Friday during the major protests against the Supreme Court verdicts and is now facing a deportation order, consider that the case constitutes an "attempt to limit political participation based on a person's administrative status" and is, therefore, "a violation of his fundamental rights and those of his family."
Marc Pairó (pictured), from the IACTA legal cooperative, describes the deportation process as "exceptional" because of the legal mechanism which has been employed: specifically, article 15 of the Spanish decree law on the entry, free movement and residence in Spain of citizens of the EU and some other states. "It is an article," says Pairó, "that I had never seen, which has been applied other times but is aimed at cases of organized crime, of continuous criminal conduct." According to the lawyer, Eric has an "impeccable" background and does not "even have a traffic fine": "He works, he has put down roots socially and professionally, and is the father of a family."
Resident in Masnou and married to a Catalan woman, Eric was released from custody last Saturday after spending the night in the cells of the Spanish National Police station on Barcelona's Via Laietana. According to the police, they seized a Catalan estelada flag and two steel nuts he was allegedly carrying, and accuse him of insulting them in English and throwing himself on a police officer. His lawyers deny this and explain that it was really the other way round.
The deportation order has moved into bureaucratic processing and the defence does not expect a final decision for at least six months. If it is resolved against him and the deportation order goes ahead - which the defence is convinced will occur - they will present litigation: "We will end up in the courts. It is very difficult for the immigration office to change its position. At judicial level I have no doubt that we will win because the judgments of the Supreme Court and all the jurisprudence are very clear on the application of this article. It is very exceptional that they have employed it. I am confident it won't succeed."
Meanwhile, Eric is banned from taking part in new protests. "An order banning him from political participation in demonstrations has been imposed on him," explains Pairó. The lawyer claims that Eric's case, as well as that of two people arrested in Lleida who are in custody in a Foreign Internship Centre, indicates that what is taking place are "attempts to limit the political participation of immigrant collectives who have mobilized".