Woman Fined for Impugning Spanish Police’s Honor, Trial by Combat to Follow
Imagine you are driving and see a police car parked in a handicapped space, so you take a picture, add a sarcastic caption, and put it on Facebook.
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Do the cops:
A. Issue an official explanation
B. Discipline the officer responsible
C. Ignore the incident
D. Track you down and slap you with a 800 euro fine ($886.40 USD) for “impugning” the police force’s honor
There’s a slight twist: you are in Spain, where the government has passed the ironically-named Citizens Security Law, which forbids the “unauthorised use of images of police officers that might jeopardise their or their family’s safety or that of protected facilities or police operations.” Hint: This is also known as the “gagging law.”
This law seems to have been interpreted as allowing the arrest and fining of anyone criticizing the police or government. The woman in this instance, from Petrer in southeastern Spain, captioned the image “Park where you bloody well please and you won’t even be fined,” two days after which she was found by police and given the fine. Police defended their actions by stating that they felt that the woman had “impugned their honor” by posting the image.
In a different case, a man was fined under the gagging law for calling his local police force a “class of slackers” on Facebook. He was fined for “making comments on social media that showed a lack of respect and consideration for Güímar’s local police.”
These and other incidents have led to demonstrations across Spain, including the first-ever virtual political demonstration, since protestors who convene outside government buildings could face fines of up to 600,000 euros, or $664,680.
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News Source: The Independent