The jurisprudence of a country is fruit of its laws and its history. In 1985, just a decade after inauguration of parliamentary monarchy, Supreme Court ruled that burning a photo of king constitutes a crime of injury. Two decades later, in a Catalan independence demonstration, two hooded people did same with a great portrait of royal couple. The case reached constitutional, which endorsed condemnation of insults to crown for Enric Stern and Jaume Roura. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has just ruled, however, that burning of this photo was not intended to injure dignity or fame of Don Juan Carlos, but was a political critique of what it represented, in addition to that at no time hub or incitement to violence. In short, European judges (including a Spaniard) were treated as an act of freedom of expression, guaranteed by European Convention on Human Rights and Spanish Constitution.Previous Editorials
They are only provocateurs (14/12/2016)
Prude Society (26/02/2018)
The application of this opinion is urgent. Spanish justice and society must change ir criteria on this type of act because, beyond being rude, Incivic and unpleasant, freedom of expression is a basic value of democratic societies.
At time, constitutional was divided on this case and judges were branded conservatives who imposed ir hard judgment. Welcome to this date is decision of Strasbourg, which is a bit of fresh air in a country bent on hardening penalties and impairing freedom of expression. Criminalizing certain behaviors and resorting abusively to courts to resolve what are only provocations or uncivil acts is not way to defend democratic institutions which, by definition, should be open to debate and criticism.
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