Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Spanish Gag Law: 2017 Very bad year for freedom of expression in Spain says Platform in Defense of Freedom of Information

In the video above you can listen to a song with which one of the members of 'La Insurgencia' reacts, at the beginning of 2017, to the opening of the judicial process against him.

Democracy and Class Struggle has highlighted the plight of comrade Pablo Hasel in Spain with a prospect of a 12 year prison sentence in February 2018 but there are many more cases of the use of the Spanish Gag Law against Rappers and Twitterers in  Spain. 

This repression must not occur in the dark without the people or the world knowing and condemning the Spanish Government

 "Very bad year for freedom of expression"in Spain says The Platform in Defense of Freedom of Information has warned of the seriousness of the situation.

There is no lack of examples to illustrate the situation in Spain : tweets  convicted of so called "glorifying terrorism", prison sentences for rappers or fines for journalists under the so-called 'Gag Law' have set off the alarms of the Platform in Defense of Freedom of Information (PDLI), an organization that safeguards the rights of freedom of information and expression in Spain, and that has summarized last year 2017 as "the year of the crimes of opinion".

Its president, Virginia Pérez Alonso, has declared that

 "it is difficult to find in the last democratic stage of Spain a precedent similar to the degree of repression against the freedom of expression that we have arrived at this year: people have been sent to jail for simple songs or by a tweet, this we had forgotten and it has happened in the middle of Europe and in the XXI century ". 

In the opinion of Pérez Alonso, this is "so serious that we will take time to assimilate its scope".

Twitterers and rappers to jail in 2017

* Cassandra. 2 years and 6 months in jail.

The year began with the process of the tweeting Cassandra, for which the prosecution requested 2 years and 6 months in prison, plus 3 probation, for making parodies about the Francoist general Carrero Blanco, killed by ETA in 1973, in a series of tweets published from November 2013 to January 2016. 

The prosecutor's order accused her of a "crime of humiliating the victims of terrorism", foreseen and punished in the Penal Code, and considered that her tweets were "serious messages of exaltation of terrorism. " Cassandra, 21 years old, was sentenced to one year in prison by the National Court.

* César Strawberry. 1 year in prison

Also in January, the singer César Strawberry was sentenced to one year in prison and six months of absolute disqualification. His crime was to publish six tweets in which he satirized ETA or the death of Carrero Blanco, and in which the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court understood that there was an exaltation of terrorism and humiliation to the victims.

* Valtonyc 3 and a half years in jail.

The following month, in February, the National Court imposed a sentence of three and a half years in prison to rapper Valtonyc, considering that the content of his songs incurred in the crimes of insults to the Crown and the glorification of terrorism. 

The PDLI considered that sentence "a very serious attack on freedom of expression and unacceptable in a plural and democratic state."

* Collective 'The Insurgency'. 2 years and one day in prison for its 12 members.

In November, twelve other rappers were sentenced to 2 years and one day in jail, disqualification from public office for nine years and a fine of 4,800 euros. 

It is about the twelve members of the La Insurgencia collective, who according to the National Court committed crimes of glorification of terrorism through the lyrics of their songs.

The sentence emphasizes in them "continued allusions that, devoid of any other consideration, openly involve the terrorist organization GRAPO". This terrorist organization, whose name is the acronym for Resistance Groups Antifascist First of October, disappeared more than a decade ago.

The PDLI also ruled on the sentencing of these twelve rappers, describing it as 

"a new violation of freedom of expression and a violation of this fundamental right, contrary to the international standards to which Spain is subject, such as the Universal Declaration. of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights ".

The March record: seven trials in a month

As the same platform denounces, in March 2017 the National Court "was cause for alarm" for holding no less than seven trials for the uplifting of terrorism in social networks. Of these cases, to avoid major sentences, four of the accused reached agreements in accordance with the Prosecutor's Office and accepted sentences of one to two years in prison and eight years of disqualification.
"A democratic anomaly": the fines for the 'Gag Law'

In 2017 the Spanish Police continued to fine journalists under the Citizen Security Law, popularly known as the 'Gag Law'.

SOURCE: Report On RT Espana

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