The imam accused of orchestrating the attacks in Barcelona last week successfully avoided deportation from Spain in 2014 after arguing that it would violate his human rights.
Abdelbaki Es Satty was imprisoned for four years in 2010 for smuggling marijuana into Spain. He's suspected to have been radicalized while in prison. After leaving prison in 2014, Spanish authorities attempted to deport him to his native Morocco as a foreign national with a criminal conviction.
Es Satty argued against the order before a judge, claiming that a forced removal would violate his human rights, according to Spanish newspaper El Mundo and the U.K. paper The Daily Telegraph.
Es Satty then filed for asylum, which was granted, allowing him to move freely throughout the Schengen area of the European Union. He became an imam in the town of Ripoll, where the attack on Barcelona would later be planned. Eventually, Es Satty attained a position in a Belgian mosque, but was fired last year over suspicions about his radical beliefs and past activities, according to the New York Post.
He died the night before the attacks in Barcelona in an explosion at a building believed to be used for constructing bombs for the cell.
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