The Republican Socialist Platform is deeply concerned to learn that William Aitken, a Scottish man who lives and works in Barcelona, remains in jail a month after his arrest over his alleged participation in protests against the disgraceful imprisonment of Catalan rapper Pablo Hasél.
In February, we published a statement condemning Pablo’s imprisonment in connection with his tweets and songs taking aim at the Spanish establishment, and saluted the protesters who had taken to the streets in defence of fundamental democratic rights and freedoms.
Although many of those arrested in the crackdown on these protests have since been released, William – who may have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and not part of the protest at all – has been held in ‘pre-trial detention’ since his arrest on February 17th.
This is ostensibly because the Spanish authorities believe he could flee to the UK, which no longer has an extradition agreement with Spain following Brexit. However, this fails to recognise that William has built an entire life in Catalonia over four years – he has a stable job and shares an apartment with his Catalan partner. He should be allowed to return to his home.
We urge RSP members to complete one or more of these simple acts of solidarity within the next week.
1. Contribute to William’s fundraiser
William and his partner Fernanda Soler will shoulder significant costs as a result of his arrest and detention. You can help them overcome these by contributing to his fundraising page on the Gofundme website.
2. Send a birthday card to William
William will celebrate his 31st birthday in jail next week. A simple and powerful gesture of solidarity at this difficult time would be to send a birthday card to his cell at the following address:
William Aitken, C.P. Brians 1, (Modul 5), Apartat de Correus 1000, 08760 Martorell, Catalonia
You can write whatever you like in the card – but we encourage you to let William know that you and many others back in Scotland are closely following his case and calling for his release.
Although William’s birthday is not until March 26th, we encourage you to send a card as soon as possible to ensure it reaches him before his birthday or before he is moved to another facility.
3. Raise his case on social media
William’s friends are desperate for his case to be raised more prominently on social media. The Spanish state actively monitors social media discourse around Catalan issues, so tweets and Facebook posts can contribute at least a small amount of pressure for his release.
As a suggestion, you could share any of the articles which have been published about William’s detention, such as those from The National or the Catalan website VilaWeb:
- Untried Scot could mark his birthday in a Catalan prison due to Brexit (16 March)
- The story of William Aitken, a Scotsman kept in jail without charge in Barcelona (14 March)
When tweeting about William, be sure to use the #FreeWilliamAitken hashtag. You can also tag @RSPRIC so our main account can share your tweet to a wider audience.
4. Write to your MP or MSP
William’s case has not yet been raised in either Westminster or Holyrood. You can write to your local MP or MSP and ask them to do so – raising publicity and pressuring the UK and Scottish governments to do more to secure William’s release.
We suggest that you keep this letter short and focus on the fact that William has already spent four weeks in jail without having been convicted of any crime. You can also draw on our statement about Pablo Hasél for background information about the protests in Catalonia.