Why this story matters:
In past years, and as NewsMavens has reported, Spanish judiciary has prosecuted a number of artists, singers and journalists under the Gag Law. The Gag Law, or Ley Mordaza, imposes fines for showing a "lack of respect" to police and strictly monitors any insult to public figures, such as the king.
Ley Mordaza was also brought into play during recent controversial sentences handed out by the Spanish judiciary, such as the imprisonment of Catalan political leaders.
According to the Joan Ferrus, deputy director of the satirical magazine, El Jueves, most of those arrested under the Ley Mordaza profess left-wing ideologies. Therefore, in response to his prosecution, he has posted a picture on Twitter of himself "embracing" a copy of "Mein Kampf" by Hitler in an ironic attempt to present himself as right-wing.
The gesture, while controversial, does highlight the crucial point that Ley Mordaza, by limiting freedom of speech and curbing the right to peacefully protest, can easily be used to target political adversaries.
Details from the story:
- Joan Ferrus is deputy director of magazine El Jueves.
- He is facing trial as a result of a complaint filed by the union of the National Police for an article published by the satirical magazine in October 2017, where it was joked that the riot police, after preventing "a clean sweep" during the referendum, had exhausted Catalonia's cocaine stocks.
- Ley Mordaza was introduced in Spain in 2015.
- Amnesty International has called this law "draconian" and "an assault on the rights of [Spanish] citizens.