list of convictions for speech offenses in Spain

Updated: Saturday, February 20, 2021 2:28 PM

Published on: 02/20/2021 2:25 PM

Pablo Hasél is the last, but not the only one, condemned in Spain for a crime of expression; among them, the exaltation of terrorism. In 2000, PP and PSOE agreed to include it in the Penal Code. Its tightening in 2015, four years after the end of ETA’s armed activity, increased the penalties. “For praising acts of terrorism committed by groups that no longer existed,” said Esteban Beltrán, director of Amnesty International in Spain.

The General Council of the Judiciary itself criticized the extensive application of this crime. “We are not confronted with a direct incitement to commit terrorist acts, but rather with the simple adherence to the objectives of a terrorist organization”, explained Fernando de la Fuente, vice-spokesperson for judges and judges for democracy . Arnaldo Otegi and groups such as “Sozdades Alkoholica” or “La Insurgencia” sat on the dock, among others.

As part of “Operation Spider”, 76 tweeters have been accused of encouraging terrorism. And Now Madrid adviser Guillermo Zapata has been tried and acquitted for a tweet about Irene Villa. “The crime of glorifying terrorism must be eliminated, or lead it to have a direct component of violence,” said Esteban Beltrán. In 2007, a cover of El Jueves which caricatured the King and Queen of Spain having sex was kidnapped by the judge.

Its perpetrators were fined for insulting the crown. That same year, two separatists burned photos of Felipe VI in Girona. His 15-year sentence was overturned by the European Court of Human Rights. “What the European Court of Human Rights came to say is that it was a criticism of the institution,” said Fernando de la Fuente. The judges also did not consider freedom of expression as the “great procession of the rebel Chumino”, but as an offense against religious feelings.

This is one of the few convictions for this crime. “The Penal Code is not there to protect, however respectable they may be, abstract feelings,” said the director of Amnesty International in Spain. The same case suffered by the winner of the Gran Canaria Carnival drag gala who in 2017 appeared dressed as a Virgin. He was tried, but was acquitted.

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