OVER 200 Spanish celebrities from the arts world have signed an open letter urging the socialists (PSOE) and Podemos to break their deadlock and form a coalition to govern the country. With just three days to go before...
Student facing jail for ETA 'jokes' acquitted by Supreme Court
By thinkSPAIN Team Fri, Mar 2, 2018
A WOMAN who was facing a year's suspended prison sentence for sharing long-running jokes on Twitter about one of Franco's ministers killed in an ETA blast has been acquitted by the Supreme Court on appeal.
Cassandra, a student of history hoping to become a teacher, retweeted a one-liner about the dictator's minister Luis Carrero Blanco whose car was literally blown over the roof of a church by the force of the bomb.
It said: “Kissinger gifted Carrero Blanco a chunk of the moon; ETA paid his travel costs,” and in another tweet, referred to the film based upon Frederico Moccia's teen romance novel Three metres above the sky in the context of Carrero Blanco.
“ETA spearheaded a policy against company cars for ministers, and combined it with their space programme,” was another comment retweeted.
Other more direct Twitter comments that led to her conviction for 'exhaltation of terrorism' included: “If only the IRA had managed to kill Margaret Thatcher; she'd have been the Irish answer to Carrero Blanco,” and, “ETA didn't do a very good job, leaving so many sons of bitches alive.”
Cassandra, 21, said 'jokes are not terrorism', that she was only joining in with 'humour of the absurd' based upon 'historical events and trending topics', and that the gags had been 'doing the rounds' in Spain for years, if not decades.
Even Carrero Blanco's granddaughter, whilst condemning her 'bad taste', publicly stated the Twitter comments should not constitute a criminal offence.
The young woman, who is openly transsexual, said the case against her had effectively ruined her career for life as she would never be able to work as a school teacher with a criminal conviction against her name – and she was also facing another seven years of being banned from any public office, meaning her hoped-for profession could not even start until she was 28.
Outraged members of the public crowdfunded the costs of her appeal to the highest contentious court in Spain, the Supreme.
This week, magistrate Alberto Jorge Barreiro said the messages were passed on 'in the spirit of humour' and that 'even if they were cheap and in poor taste', 44 years had passed since Carrero Blanco's death – more than twice as long as Cassandra has been alive – meaning it can now legitimately be considered an historic, rather than a topical event.
Since the attack in 1973, 'numerous jokes have been invented' about Carrero Blanco and, whilst Cassandra's actions 'may be motive for social and even moral reproach for mocking a human tragedy', punishing her with a criminal sentence was 'out of proportion'.
“[The tweets] do not contain any acidic comments against the victim of the bombing, nor do they express injurious, cutting or attacking comments or phrases against [Carrero Blanco]'s person or any concrete aspect of his public or private life,” Barreiro's verdict states.
He also comments that the fact the victim's car 'reached a great height' after the bomb planted in it went off, jokes on this aspect 'are now very tired and overdone', meaning Cassandra's tweets cannot be considered libellous.
Her case sets a legal precedent, which could lead to similar verdicts being passed for near-identical cases.
They include rapper César Strawberry from the group Def Con Dos, who was granted a year's suspended sentence for 'humiliating ETA terrorism victims' and 'exhaltation of terrorism' over tweets he published between November 2013 and January 2014.
César Strawberry, Cassandra and other Twitter-users who have fallen foul of Spain's criminal laws have the support of Amnesty International, whose director for Spain, Esteban Beltrán, said in his annual report that '2017 was a bad year for freedom of speech' in the country.
As for Cassandra, she has 'celebrated' her complete acquittal by the Supreme Court by tweeting a video of a flying car.
More Politics & People content
PLAID Cymru MP Hywel Williams has accused the Spanish government of 'spying' on meetings held by an 'informal' cross-party group in the UK set up to discuss Catalunya, Spain's north-eastern region...
SPANISH president Pedro Sánchez has been invited to join the parade in Paris for the July 14 celebrations, known as 'Bastille Day'. Referred to by the French simply by the date – Bastille Day is one of the...
PRINCESS Leonor of Asturias will help present the awards named after her – Spain's national 'Nobel' prizes – for this first time this year at the October ceremony, just before she turns 14. The heir to...