- The fine imposed by Spanish judges on two demonstrators who had burned a photograph of the Spanish king in 2007 is unlawful. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that.
The duo each received a fine of 2700 euro when they put a photo of him on fire during a visit by the then king Juan Carlos to Girona. At first they were even sentenced to fifteen months in prison for insulting the king.
The Human Rights Court has now determined that the punishment is contrary to the right to freedom of expression. It was not a personal attack on the monarch, but must be seen as a criticism of what he symbolizes as head of state, according to the court in Strasbourg. The two had the right to express 'political criticism' on what they called the Spanish 'occupation' of Catalonia. They have not called anyone to violence or hatred either.
Spain must repay the fines and also pay a total of 9000 euros in compensation to the duo.