A 50-year-old Algerian who used to spy for Spain and the Israeli intelligence service, the Mossad, is asking the Madrid government for political asylum.
Said Sahnoun has been living inside the transit area at Barajas airport since November 22. He is there with his 20-year-old son, while his wife and two daughters wait back in Algeria.
"I am a traitor. In the eyes of many people I am a felon, and that is why I cannot have any professional activity. That is why I came to Spain," said Sahnoun in a telephone conversation.
Lawyers for the Spanish Help Committee for Refugees filed an appeal on behalf of Sahnoun after Spanish authorities turned down his original asylum request. "I hope they give it to me, because if they deport me to Algeria I'll get at least five more years in prison," he said.
Arrested in December 2005, a year-and-a-half later Sahnoun was convicted to 10 years behind bars for "collecting and conveying to a foreign power sensitive and confidential information [...] that endangers the national economy and defense [of Algeria]." Sahnoun was a spy, but he was working for two powers: Spain and Israel.
After being pardoned in 2012, Sahnoun is now knocking on the door of his former employer. He came to Madrid without a visa after crossing several African countries and getting on a plane making a stopover in the Spanish capital.