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  1. #1
    Mid
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    Europe : The end of lese majeste ?

    Spain to pay Basque leader after court rules insulting the king is not a crime
    Giles Tremlett
    Tuesday 15 March 2011

    European court of human rights says Arnaldo Otegi must be compensated after being sentenced to jail for insulting King Juan Carlos


    Arnaldo Otegi was sentenced to jail for claiming Spain's King Juan Carlos 'protects torture'.
    Photograph: Pedro Armestre/AFP/Getty Images

    Spain must compensate the radical Basque separatist leader Arnaldo Otegi after wrongly sentencing him to jail for insulting King Juan Carlos, the European court of human rights has decided.

    The court in Strasbourg ruled on Tuesday that Spain must pay €23,000 (nearly £20,000) in compensation to Otegi for breaching his right to freedom of expression after he accused the Spanish monarch of protecting police torturers.

    Otegi made his comments after police raided and closed down the Basque-language Egunkaria newspaper in February 2003. The editor, Martxelo Otamendi, and other executives, claimed they were tortured. When Juan Carlos visited the Basque country soon afterwards, Otegi said that as "supreme head of the civil guard police force", the monarch was effectively in command of those who had tortured Egunkaria staff.

    Otegi claimed the king "protects torture and imposes his monarchical regime on our people through torture and violence". Three years later a Spanish court found him guilty of insulting the king, handing down a one-year suspended jail sentence and imposing costs.

    But the Strasbourg court has decided Otegi was within his rights as a politician to air his grievances against the king, though the torture allegations were never proved.

    Otegi's remarks were "made in his capacity as elected member of and spokesperson for a parliamentary group …in the context of the recent closure of the Egunkaria newspaper and the complaint alleging ill-treatment", the Strasbourg judges ruled.

    They accepted that his words "could be understood as contributing to a wider public debate on the possible responsibility of the state security forces in cases of ill treatment".

    Spanish judges last year threw out a case alleging that Otamendi and other Egunkaria executives had collaborated with Eta. The decision came too late to save Egunkaria.

    Four civil guard police officers were found guilty last December of torturing members of an Eta unit that killed two people with a bomb at Madrid's Barajas airport in 2006.

    Otegi is one of a group of separatist leaders now trying to persuade Eta to end four decades of terrorism.

    guardian.co.uk

  2. #2
    Mid
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    Prachatai is also carrying this story and has the following information which is not included in the OP from the guardian.co.uk .

    Otegi Mondragon v. Spain (application no. 2034/07), which is not final 1

    1 Under Articles 43 and 44 of the Convention, this Chamber judgment is not final. During the three-month period following its delivery, any party may request that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber of the Court. If such a request is made, a panel of five judges considers whether the case deserves further examination. In that event, the Grand Chamber will hear the case and deliver a final judgment. If the referral request is refused, the Chamber judgment will become final on that day.

    Once a judgment becomes final, it is transmitted to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe for supervision of its execution. Further information about the execution process can be found here: www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/execution


    An elected representative

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    The EU should start imposing its judgements on Human Rights far and wide and jail those that violate them.

    Judges that impose LM judgements inside or travelling to the EU? Into the jail with you!

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    Member brouhaha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    But the Strasbourg court has decided Otegi was within his rights as a politician to air his grievances against the king, though the torture allegations were never proved.
    very narrow finding.

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    It seems astounding that any civilised country would even consider such archaic laws (unless it had something nefarious to hide).

  6. #6
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    ^
    Democracy , contrary to popular belief and wishes, comes slowly step by step.
    Franco died in 1975 and Spain became a democracy a few years after and is still a young democracy according to European measures so don't be too harsh when judging them.

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    Amazing how Human Rights can be used simultaneously by far left regimes to protect and serve foreign criminals; and prevent an occupied autochthonous ethnic group from having self-determination from occupying powers, that are supposedly liberal and democratic; i.e. France and Spain's continued occupation and slow ethnocide of the Basque people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog View Post
    It seems astounding that any civilised country would even consider such archaic laws (unless it had something nefarious to hide).
    Apparently Denmark and Holland still have it, and Scotland only abolished it last year
    It was Dr Evan Harris MP who first raised the continuing existence in England of the offences of sedition and seditious libel during the passage through Parliament last year of the Coroners and Justice Bill. As he said, although it would be unthinkable for the state to use the offences today in the way that they were used against the likes of John Wilkes in previous centuries, they remain part of our law. Theoretically, every time that a journalist harangues the Government or a comedian insults the Crown, they are liable to be arrested.

    The provisions are more than a mere theoretical curiosity to amuse law students. More importantly, the fact that the UK has such laws is used as a convenient excuse for repressive regimes worldwide to have, and to use, their own. In such countries not only is there a chilling effect—people being too afraid to air criticism of the authorities and elites—but citizens are regularly prosecuted for speaking out.

    The UK Government was seized of the force of the arguments and tabled amendments to the Coroners and Justice Bill to sweep away the offences of sedition, seditious libel, obscene libel and defamatory libel in the rest of the UK. We believe that it is appropriate for us to follow suit and lay finally to rest the Scots law offences of sedition and leasing-making, which is what amendment 114 does. That will help give the UK greater moral authority when dealing with repressive regimes.
    The Scottish Parliament - Justice Committee Official Report

    Ranks along with flag-desecration, blasphemy, and sedition in the annals of incipient law.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1F2i0rYMj8

    we are all figments of our own imagination.

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