Protesters burn Spanish king pictures to celebrate court ruling
A hundred people gathered in the Catalan town of Banyoles to burn photos of the monarch following a decision by Human Rights court
Some hundred people gathered in the Catalan town of Banyoles to burn pictures of the Spanish king on Tuesday night, in celebration of a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that condemns Spain over prosecuting people who set photos of the monarch on fire in 2007.
The event was organized by pro-independence organizations and was attended by Jaume Roure, a local and one of the two men exonerated by the international court. He thanked people for their support and said that the ruling demonstrated the “Spanish state’s violation of fundamental rights.” Yet, he was critical of the fact that it took so long for the judicial process to come to an end.
In a blow to the Spanish judiciary, the court in Strasburg ruled that freedom of expression “protects political criticism” with a “permissible degree of provocation”—and that includes burning pictures of the king.
Spain’s national court sentenced the two Catalan men for allegedly inciting hatred and sentenced them to a 2,700 euros fine. The ECHR ordered Spain to pay the fine back, as well as a 9,000 euros compensation to both complainants.
The decision by the European court over Spain's punishments for burning images of the king was unanimous. The European body thus upholds the arguments of the complainants that the Spanish court’s ruling was an "unwarranted interference" with their right to freedom of expression. This right is enshrined in Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights.
On Tuesday, the pro-independence party Esquerra Republicana proposed in the Spanish Congress to decriminalize defamation of the crown. Yet, the ruling People's Party, as well as Ciutadans and the Socialists, voted against the proposal.