A month ago, I published a post titled, The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves – Spain Officially Becomes a Police State, which covered the implementation of the nation’s incredibly authoritarian “gag laws.”
Amongst other things, the laws criminalized protesting, including free speech on the internet and “photographing police.” The elements of the law relevant to today’s post are the following:
Naturally, it didn’t take long for such a law to be used agains the helpless plebs, as an unidentified Spanish woman has been fined $900 for posting a picture of local police parked in a handicapped spot to Facebook.
The Guardian reports:
A Spanish woman has been fined €800 (£570) under the country’s controversial new gagging law for posting a photograph of a police car parked illegally in a disabled bay.
The unnamed woman, a resident of Petrer in Alicante, south-east Spain, posted the photo on her Facebook page with the comment “Park where you bloody well please and you won’t even be fined”.
The police tracked her down within 48 hours and fined her.
The Citizens Security Law, popularly known as the gagging law and which came into force on 1 July, prohibits “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”.
Amnesty International condemned the law, saying that photographing police was vital in cases when excessive force had been used. Fines under this section of the law range from €600 to €30,000.
The Associated Press added some color to the situation:
It is up to the regional Interior Ministry office to decide whether to impose a fine or not and its ruling can be appealed. No one was available at the office Tuesday for comment.
Under previous legislation, such matters would have had to be decided on by a judge in court but now government administration officials can issue rulings.
He said the town hall would have preferred another solution but that the two local police officers insisted on seeking a fine to defend their honor.
Yes, so honorable to hunt down a random citizen for a Facebook post and then force her to pay $900 for the “crime” of posting photography.
Of course, this wasn’t the first ridiculous use of the law, and it won’t be the last. As the Telegraph reported, a man was recently fined for calling police “slackers.” Can’t make this up…
The first known individual to fall foul of Spain’s controversial new “gag law” has spoken out against what he sees as the repression of free speech after he received a fine for describing his local police force as “slackers” on Facebook.
Eduardo Díaz, a 27-year-old salesman from Tenerife, told the newspaper El Mundo that the comment he posted on his mayor’s Facebook page about the decision to provide the local police force with a new and larger headquarters was “just a criticism, not an insult. I get the impression that they are trying to silence the voice of critical citizens”.
In his July 22 Facebook comment, Mr Díaz criticised the use of public resources on a brand new police station in the town of Güímar, stating that the local force was a “pack of slackers”. But local police officers wasted no time in reacting, ringing Mr Díaz’s doorbell six hours later to present him with the notification of a fine which will be set at between €100 and €600.
“I do not agree with insulting the police and would never show them disrespect. But, as a citizen who pays his taxes, I believe that I have the right to express my opinion over a government decision,” said Mr Díaz, who added that he will continue to criticise the authorities on social media.
Actually, you don’t have that right. You don’t live in a free country, and you’re merely a banker serf. Got it?
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