Our View – Different Rules

THINGS aren’t always as they seem and in Spain visitors must be very aware that events can escalate quickly especially as two different cultures meet.

Recently, a 19-year from the UK accompanied by his 18-year old girlfriend travelled to Barcelona for a long weekend which turned into a nightmare.

They had had a few drinks and in his words that had a ‘tiff’ because her phone was almost out of charge and he put his hands on her shoulders (which she corroborates) to calm her down.

Out of the blue he was pounced on by two youngish men in civilian clothes and thinking he was being mugged, tried to fight back but suddenly he was on the pavement and hand cuffed.

They were plain clothes police who arrested him for gender violence and took him to a police station, leaving his girlfriend distraught and alone.

He was placed in a cell where one of the detainees was screaming and appeared unstable and despite his appeal to be moved, this was denied.

After being allowed to make a phone call to his family, he was kept in the cell for around 20 hours before being told he was being charged with assault on the girl as well as the police before being returned to the cell.

He was then assaulted by his cell mate until police intervened and he was taken the next day before the court.

With the assistance of the British Consulate, after pleading not guilty he was released, allowed to leave Barcelona and is due to return to Court in October 2024.

A frightening time and a warning to be aware that different rules often apply in different countries.

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