Every day more and more cases are added to the list of violations of the right to freedom of expression in Spain. All kinds of groups have been victims: rappers, journalists, artists, actors…
Article traduït per AnnA (@annuskaodena)
Below, we have gathered the main cases registered up to date.
Exaltation of terrorism
For now, rapper Valtonyc is the only one exiled with sentences related to freedom of expression. He was sentenced by the Supreme Court to three and a half years in prison for crimes of exaltation of terrorism and humiliation of the victims, insults to King Juan Carlos I and threats to Jorge Campos from ‘Actúa Baleares’ political party. All this, because of the lyrics of his songs.
Rather than entering prison, the rapper, from Mallorca, chose to flee to Belgium. His defence His defence says that Europe is the best place where their rights can be guaranteed and they intend to appeal the ruling to the Human Rights Court in Strasbourg.
Offense: Verses such as “I want to communicate a message of hope to the Spanish people, ETA is a great nation”, literal phrase of one of Rajoy’s slips in 2007, “Let’s see if you realise, like Bárcenas case, I lose the papers and I shout GORA ETA in the barracks” or “De Cospedal would not laugh so much in a hole at forty degrees”.
Pablo Hasel, 2 years of prison
Pablo Rivadulla, also a rapper, known as Pablo Hasel, has been sentenced by the National Court to two years and one day in prison for the crimes of exalting terrorism and insults to the Crown and to the State institutions for messages on Twitter and a song uploaded to YouTube. As well as the prison conviction, he has to pay a fine of 24,300 euros.
Hasel has filed an appeal. If neither the National High Court nor, later, the Supreme Court accept the appeals, Hasel must go into prison because he was already sentenced, back in 2014, to two years for exalting terrorism.
Offense: Verses such as “My brother enters PP headquarters shouting ¡Gora ETA!”, “Death sentence now to the pathetic Princesses” o “The GRAPO acted in self-defence against imperialism and its crimes”.
La Insurgencia, 12 people sentenced
La Insurgencia, a group of rappers, were called to testify at the National High Court before Judge Carmen Lamela in November 2016, accused of exalting terrorist organizations such as GRAPO. In December 2017, they were sentenced to two years and one day. Because of this additional day added to the sentence, prison entry of all twelve members is mandatory despite having no criminal record.
The sentence counted on the dissenting opinion of Judge Ángela Murillo, who considered that they wanted “to obtain notoriety, reaffirming their personalities, ultimately, to get attention by other routes”. The group has appealed the sentence to avoid entering prison.
Offense: Verses such as “I know which side I am on, the one of the oppressed, the exploited, remembering how fascists flew with the GRAPO”, “it’s a disgrace that the Bourbons have not yet been subjected to any explosions” or “guillotines are needed for the pigs leading the police”.
The puppeteers of Madrid, prison for one hyphen
Two puppeteers were arrested and sent to provisional prison with no bail at the beginning of February 2016 after representing their show ‘The witch and Don Cristóbal’ during the Carnival. They were accused of exaltation of terrorism and incitement to hatred for showing a small banner which said ‘Gora Alka-ETA’, a word play with ‘Gora Alkaeta’ (long live the mayor).
They spent 5 days in prison, until the Prosecutor’s office changed their mind and asked for them to be freed. The accusation for exaltation of terrorism was filed in June and at the beginning of 2017 they were acquitted of the crime of incitement to hatred. The case was followed with great expectation and indignation and their show was represented in cities all over Spain.
Cassandra, sentences that blow up
Cassandra Vera, @kira_95 on Twitter, was reported in 2016 for her tweets joking about the death of Carrero Blanco. The lawsuit was filed by the Civil Guard -when the girl turned 18 years old- after finding her tweets during Operation Spider, designed to pursue the exaltation of terrorism in social networks.
Cassandra based her defence on freedom of expression but was sentenced by the National Court to a year in prison and seven years of disqualification. His case raised a lot of controversy and, she even received a letter of support from Carrero Blanco’s granddaughter. Finally, the sentence was overturned in 2018 by the Supreme Court, reasoning that her statements were just “humorous” regarding an event that, after 44 years, could be considered “history”.
Offense: Tweets such as “ETA promoted a policy against official cars combined with a space program”, “Spiderman VS Carrero Blanco” o “Kissinger gave Carrero Blanco a piece of the moon, ETA paid for his trip”.
César Strawberry, prison for his tweets about GRAPO and ETA
The singer of Def con Dos, César Augusto Montaña Lehmann, was sentenced, in 2017, to one year in prison and six and a half years of total disqualification for exaltation of terrorism and humiliation of ETA’s and GRAPO’s victims. The National Court acquitted him after considering his messages to be a part of his artistic side, but the prosecutor appealed to the Supreme Court, and he was sentenced one year later. He is accused of writing a series of tweets that he published between November 2013 and January 2014.
Offense: Tweets such as:
El Jueves, going to trial for a joke
The directors of El Jueves, a satirical magazine, will have to go to trial for an article that was meant to be a joke about the police deployed in Catalonia on October the 1st and their cocaine use. According to the Court in Barcelona that instructed the case, the joke would have been incurring a presumed crime of insults. That is why the director of the magazine, Guille Martínez-Vela, and the deputy director and web editor, Joan Ferrús, will be summoned to court for being responsible for the publication.
The judge of the investigation, which was opened after a complaint from the police unions to the Prosecutor’s Office, argues that the article “was offensive and disrespectful”, and not based on facts. As if this wasn’t enough, during the investigations, the Public Defender’s Office appeared in the proceedings against the magazine, which responded with the following cover: ‘Everything is hate crime‘.
Evaristo, reported for insulting the police
La Polla Records, ex singer, Evaristo Páramos, was identified and reported by the Civil Guard after a gig at Jerez de la Frontera last May. The police officers reported him for having insulted the police at the end of the gig. In application of the Gag Law, the “lack of respect and consideration” addressed to the Security Forces and Law Enforcement are considered minor offenses and are punishable by fines ranging from 100 to 600 euros. Páramos has been on stage for more than 30 years without ever experiencing any incidents like this.
Offense: Shouting “Police officers, motherfuckers” from stage at the end of the gig.
Toni Albà, awaiting trial for some tweets
Actor and comedian Toni Albà will go to trial accused of slander regarding some tweets he wrote after October the 1st on police, judicial and political action. There are no insults in any of his tweets but the judge believes that they could be considered offensive. Among them, there are comments against the National Court judge, Carmen Lamela, or against the former Attorney General, José Manuel Maza.
Offense: Tweets such as:
Eduard Biosca, summoned to court for playing a fictional character
Comedian Eduard Biosca was reported by the National Police for an alleged offense of insulting the Security Forces. The origin of the lawsuit was a comment from ‘Mr. Bohigues’, his best known comic character, during a gag on the radio show ‘Versió Rac1’. The case ended up being filed by the judge arguing that, although the joke might have been in bad taste, the actor did not commit any crime.
Offense: 20th of October, radio show. The radio show’s presenters were talking about the poor condition of the ships that hosted the police officers sent to Catalonia on the 1st of October, where there were rats. In the middle of the conversation, Mr. Bohigues, a fictional character said “the first 10,000 rats had already been brought from Madrid”. The rest of the participants in the radio show asked for the joke not be laughed at.
Six people charged for criticising the Madrid Police
A judge from Madrid has charged six social networks users for an alleged offense of insults and slandering for tweets against the Municipal Police for the incidents that took place in Lavapiés after the death of a Senegalese man back in March. Among the defendants, reported by the police unions, there is a councilor of Madrid City Council, Rommy Arce, spokesman for the street sellers union, Malick Gueye, the secretary of organisation of JERC (The Young Republican Left of Catalonia) Igualada, Joan Mangues, journalist Fonsi Loaiza and Facebook users Iván Cortés Villalón and Swett & Dandy.
Offense: Tweets such as:
ARCO’s art works on prisoners, censored
The Madrid Trade Fair (IFEMA), a public body that was hosting the ARCO art exhibition, demanded the removal of an exhibition on ‘Political Prisoners in Contemporary Spain‘ from Santiago Sierra last February. The work consisted of several photographs of Spanish and Catalan political prisoners with a pixelated face, among them, the separatist leaders. Out of the three representatives from IFEMA, only the City Council of Madrid opposed the removal. The Community of Madrid, in the hands of the PP, and the Chamber of Commerce, led the action.
The gallery manager in charge of the show decided to remove it without a word, which triggered a great controversy. Although some parties, artists and other collectives made a big fuss about the issue, the work was not exposed in the end. Nevertheless, it was purchased on the day by one of the founding partners of Mediapro, Tatxo Benet, for 80,000 euros and, shortly after, started a tour in places such as the Sixena Museum or the CCCB (Barcelona Center of Contemporary Culture).
‘Fariña’, a confiscated book
Judge Alejandra Pontana agreed last March the precautionary confiscation of the book ‘Fariña’, a work in which journalist Nacho Carretero delves into the history of Galician drug trafficking. The measure was applied at the request of former mayor of O Grove (Pontevedra) José Alfredo Bea Gondar, who sued Carretero and the publisher ‘Libros del KO’ for alleged violation of his right to honour. Bea Gondar is quoted in the book for alleged links with the Galician drug trafficking.
The sales of ‘Fariña’ –which was in its 9th edition at the moment the judge decided on the precautionary confiscation– soared even more when the news came out. At this point, three months later, the book is still vetoed. After getting his way, the former mayor didn’t stop there and said in an interview with El Mundo that “if he was not religious and had a gun, he would be looking for the guy to shoot him in the head”, referring to the author of the book.
Offense: These fragments: “Orbaiz Picos offered himself to the Cali cartel to bring 2,000 kilos of cocaine. He did so through Alfredo Bea Gondar, mayor of O Grove for AP (Alianza Popular) in 1983 and 1991, who accepted the proposal” and “The car (…) was in Alfredo Bea Gondar’s name: mayor of O Grove, affiliated to PP (another one) and prosecute in 2011 for stashing two tons of cocaine.”
Yellow, whistles and independence flags, vetoed in football
The confiscation of yellow shirts in the Spanish Cup Final at Wanda Metropolitano is one of the most bizarre cases of vetoing the freedom of expression in football stadiums in Spain. The police confiscated more than 200 shirts from FC Barcelona supporters. No explanation was given by the Spanish government and they denied having given any “political instructions” in that regard. FC Barcelona and separatist organisations have taken the case to court after having repeatedly asked for the reasons and not having received any answers.
Whistling the Spanish anthem could also be a crime, but not even the courts are clear about it. The promoter of the controversial whistling during the Spanish Cup Final in 2015, Santiago Espot, was sentenced to pay a fine of 7,200 euros for a crime of insults against the Crown and an affront to Spain. Five months later, the same National Court acquitted him. Not satisfied, the Prosecutor’s Office have asked for the case to be reopened and they request a fine of 90,000 euros.
The exhibition of flags typically flown by Catalan independence supporters has been an issue at football stands for years and has resulted in the opening of judicial files and appeals. The Spanish government delegate in Madrid, Concepción Dancausa, wanted to forbid them during the Spanish Cup Final in 2016 but the decision was overturned by a judge just before the match started, and it was filed in the end. As for UEFA, they opened three proceedings against FC Barcelona for exhibition of independence flags during the Champions League matches in 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons. They requested a fine of 150,000 euros for the Club. After more than two years of appeals, UEFA has ended filing the proceedings and the Club won’t be sanctioned.
The vetoes, however, don’t just affect premier league games, it also happens away from the football stadiums. Police confiscated an independence flag from a Barça supporter at Puerta Del Sol in Madrid and 3 supporters of Sant Andreu FC were arrested at Castelló for the same reason.
Jordi Galves, summoned to court for an article about Cornellà council
The council of Cornellà reported El Nacional collaborator, Jordi Galves, for an alleged hate crime for his article entitled ‘Cornellà is not like Catalonia’. The case was filed before he even testified as the Prosecutor’s Office did not see any evidence of crime in the text.
Offense: An article with phrases like “A land [Cornellà] where there is only one group that believes they are superior to others and has decided against integration in Catalonia”, “Where the might is right spreads, violence shows up in all shapes and forms, the far-right, sexism, the permanent resentment of immigrants who do not want to cease to be”, “I have met a lonely boy, isolated and scared, whom his peers called ‘the Catalan’ to stigmatize him, to bully him.
Pesarrodona, a clown’s nose and 3 crimes
The ERC councilor of Sant Joan de Vilatorrada, Jordi Pesarrodona, was charged in December 2016 for an alleged hate crime and serious resistance during October the 1st in his own town. Pesarrodona had become popular for having stood, with a clown’s nose, next to a Civil Guard agent who was guarding the door of the Department of Interior during the 20-S, for nearly 3 hours. Finally, it was not necessary for him to testify, since the judge decided to file the case after hearing the testimony of a Civil Guard lieutenant. However, there is still another case pending for disobedience.
480 euros for giving Christ a face
Daniel Serrano, 24, was sentenced, back in February, to pay a fine of 480 euros for offending the religious feelings when he posted a photomontage on Instagram with his own face replacing the face of the Suffering Christ (Cristo de la Amargura), which is very popular during Holy Week in Jaén.
The brotherhood asked him on several occasions to remove the image, with no success, so they ended up taking the case to court. According to the Prosecution, the “shameful manipulation of the image” showed a “clear disdain and mockery towards the brotherhood with the purpose of offending” and requested a fine of 2,160 euros.
Willy Toledo, summoned to court for saying “to hell with God”
Actor Willy Toledo has been summoned to court after the Association of Christian Lawyers reported him. He has been charged for an alleged religious offence in a post he published in 2017 where he made comments against God and Our Lady of the Pillar (Blessed Virgin Mary). The report was provisionally filed but it has been reopened after an appeal by from the Association. Toledo has been summoned to court twice but he has refused to show up.
Offense: A post that said “I shit on the genocidal conquest of America, I shit on God, I shit on Our Lady of the Pillar. Long live Rebellious pussy”.
‘Coño insumiso (Rebellious pussy)’, a performance taken to trial
Three women will be judged next year for taking part in a performance that represented a procession with “Coño insumiso (Rebellious pussy)” as the leading role in Seville, May 2014. They were reported by the Association of Christian Lawyers for a religious hate crime and the Prosecutor’s Office requested a penalty of 3,000 euros for each of them. The case was filed in 2016 but was reopened again a year later after an appeal by the Association.
Font: El Nacional.cat @elnacionalcat
Autora: Maria Macià @MariaMacia
Data de publicació: 11 de juny 2018
Font de la imatge: Carlos Latuff