Deportation Case Casts Light on Push for Catalan Independence

17.05.2013

Author: Lise Abend

Source: Time

NoureddinZianniIs he a spy or a sovereigntist? At approximately 7 p.m. this evening, Barcelona police arrested a Moroccan-born man named Noureddine Ziani and informed him that he was being deported from Spain, the country where he has legally lived and worked for the past 14 years. Citing a “threat to national security,” Spain’s Center for National Intelligence (CNI) made the request for expulsion on May 3; it was approved earlier today by the Spanish interior ministry. The CNI report specifies that Ziani has both collaborated with the intelligence service of a foreign government and has links to Islamist extremists. But Ziani’s supporters, who learned of his troubles earlier this week, suspect that the real motivation for his deportation lies a lot closer to home: for the past year, the 45-year-old businessman and religious leader has worked as liaison to the Muslim community for an organization that promotes independence for the semi-autonomous region of Catalonia from Spain. (read more)