What are the rights of foreign detainees in Spain?
If you have been detained and you are a foreigner, continue reading to learn about your rights. A&O Lawyers, your criminal law firm in Marbella, explains your rights as a detainee.
The criminal process can begin in different ways, but at all times the rights of the person who is the subject of the detention must be respected. But what are these rights?
The Criminal Procedure Law regulates the rights in Article 118. In this way, the following list of rights is made available to you:
a) Right to be informed of the facts attributed to you, as well as any relevant changes in the object of the investigation and the charged facts.
b) Right to examine the proceedings in advance.
c) Right to exercise your right to defense in the procedure.
d) Right to freely designate a lawyer.
e) Right to request free legal assistance.
f) Right to free translation and interpretation.
g) Right to remain silent and not to make a statement.
h) Right not to testify against oneself and not to confess guilt.
Once the detention has been carried out, the Criminal Procedure Law collects the following rights of the detainee in Article 520.2:
“Any detained or imprisoned person shall be informed in writing, in a simple and accessible language, in a language he or she understands and immediately, of the facts attributed to him or her and the reasons for his or her deprivation of liberty, as well as of the rights that correspond to him or her, and especially of the following:
a) Right to remain silent and not to make a statement if he or she does not wish to, not to answer some or any of the questions that are asked, or to declare that he or she will only testify before the judge.
b) Right not to testify against oneself and not to confess guilt.
c) Right to designate a lawyer, without prejudice to the provisions of section 1(a) of Article 527, and to be assisted by him or her without unjustified delay. In the event that, due to geographical distance, the assistance of a lawyer is not immediately possible, communication by telephone or videoconference with the lawyer shall be facilitated for the detainee, unless such communication is impossible.
d) Right to access the essential elements of the proceedings in order to challenge the legality of the detention or deprivation of liberty.
e) Right to have his or her detention and the place of custody communicated to the family member or person he or she wishes, without unjustified delay. Foreigners shall have the right to have the above-mentioned circumstances communicated to the consular office of their country.
f) Right to communicate by telephone, without unjustified delay, with a third party of his or her choice. This communication shall take place in the presence of a police officer or, where appropriate, the officer designated by the judge or public prosecutor, without prejudice to the provisions of Article 527.
g) Right to be visited by the consular authorities of his or her country, to communicate with them and to maintain correspondence with them.
h) Right to be assisted free of charge by an interpreter, when he or she is a foreigner who does not understand or speak Spanish or the official language of the proceedings in question, or is a deaf or hearing-impaired person, as well as other persons with language difficulties.
i) Right to be examined by the forensic doctor or his or her legal substitute and, failing that, by the doctor of the institution in which he or she is located, or by any other person dependent on the State or other Public Administrations.
j) Right to request free legal assistance, the procedure for doing so and the conditions for obtaining it.
Likewise, the detainee shall be informed of the maximum legal detention period until the presentation before a judicial authority and the procedure by which they may challenge the legality of their detention.
In the event that a statement of rights in a language understood by the detainee is not available, their rights shall be communicated to them through an interpreter as soon as possible. In this case, a written statement of rights in a language understood by the detainee must subsequently be provided to them without undue delay.
In all cases, the detainee shall be allowed to retain the written statement of rights in their possession for the entire duration of their detention.
In upcoming entries on this website, A&O Abogados, criminal defense lawyers in Marbella, will address a practical example case of detention by state security forces. Do not hesitate to contact us if you require further information on the rights of foreign detainees in Spain.
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