Madrid appeal court rejects injunction to withdraw Vox election campaign poster on foreign minors

Notes: Foreign minors, writes court, "represent an obviousd social and political problem, that even affects or has consequences on our international relations".
By Matthew Bennett
Jul 05, 2021, 5:45 pm

1. A court in Madrid has rejected an appeal from the Prosecutor's Office and the PSOE about a Vox election campaign poster they alleged constituted a crime of hate speech. Foreign minors are “an obvious social and political problem”, writes court.

Published: Jul 05, 2021, 5:45 pm | On Twitter

2. This was the Vox poster in question: “One foreign minor 4,700 euros per month, your granny 426 euros a month”. “A lady of a certain age”, in the words of the court, and on the other side “a young man with a hood and a colored handkerchief covering his mouth and nose”.

Published: Jul 05, 2021, 5:54 pm | On Twitter

3. Note also that the court has ruled on the Vox poster “regardless of whether the figures offered are true or not”. Further down, it also writes “regardless of the free judgement that each person might hold [on it]-as well as its possible journey throught the courts”.

Published: Jul 05, 2021, 6:01 pm | On Twitter

4. Most headlines today, it seems, say that the court “endorses” the Vox cartel about foreign minors but that is not true. The regional appeal court in Madrid explains that it is merely refusing, as the first court had done, an injunction to have the poster removed.

Published: Jul 05, 2021, 6:07 pm | On Twitter

5. “Consideration of the 'merits' of the subject, whether or not we are faced with a hate crime, as the appellants argue, EXCEEDS THE SPECIFIC OBJECT OF THIS APPEAL. It is not appropriate for the investigating judge or the Prosecutor's Office or this Court to rule on that”.

Published: Jul 05, 2021, 6:13 pm | On Twitter

6. So the court explicitly explains that it is not ruling on whether or not what Vox said on the poster is true, or if it constitutes a crime. It's not a hate crime trial. Just ruling on the appeal for the injunction on whether or not to remove the poster.

Published: Jul 05, 2021, 6:16 pm | On Twitter

7. In a tweet response to ruling, Vox says “Telling the truth is not a crime”. Court has written that it has not considered the substance of the matter, is not ruling on whether or not the poster was a hate crime, or even if the statement is true or not. Link

Published: Jul 05, 2021, 6:24 pm | On Twitter

8. The court explains the limits of its ruling order: on the injunction, which it rejects, just like the first court did. There is no danger in not ordering the injunction, nor does it seem to constitute a crime. But a criminal trial has not taken place here.

Published: Jul 05, 2021, 6:33 pm | On Twitter

9. The court says that legal precedent requires the “intentional and public” statements to third parties required by Article 510 of the Criminal Code, for a hate crime, to constitute a “prelude to violence”, “immediately”.

Published: Jul 05, 2021, 6:38 pm | On Twitter

10. The Prosecutor's Office had argued that the image of a “foreign delinquent” minor was “a prejudiced concept” that sought “the dehumanization of the so-called 'MENAS' [foreign unaccompanied minors]”, fueling hatred and affecting their dignity.

Published: Jul 05, 2021, 6:42 pm | On Twitter

11. The PSOE had highlighted Vox's electoral slogans and manifesto, especially point No. 8 on the expulsion of illegal immigrants and legal immigrants who commit crimes, in addition to closing centres for foreign minors and fundamentalist mosques.

Published: Jul 05, 2021, 6:47 pm | On Twitter

12. “The criminal conduct involves injuring the dignity of others, through appropriate acts that entail 'serious humiliation, contempt or discredit' of any of the aforementioned groups,” writes the court.

Published: Jul 05, 2021, 6:50 pm | On Twitter

13. Court in Madrid cites a Constitutional Court ruling from 2007: “Our constitutional order does not allow the criminalization of the mere transmission of ideas, even in cases where execrable ideas, contrary to human dignity, are concerned”.

Published: Jul 05, 2021, 6:55 pm | On Twitter

14. “We understand”, continues the court, “that this is an election slogan, which as such does not allow us to consider it, via an alternative use of the law, as ideas to be prohibited while others opposing ideas, as open to similar criticism or more so, are to be admitted”.

Published: Jul 05, 2021, 6:59 pm | On Twitter

15. And so the court comes to its ruling: “because it is no longer necessary to revoke the decision and because there are serious doubts the basic facts may be considered a crime, given the form of presentation and that they were externalized in an election campaign”.

Published: Jul 05, 2021, 7:02 pm | On Twitter

16. So appeal court does not order poster removed because election campaign is over and because it seems this is not a crime, which is not the same thing as saying it is or is not because Vox has not been on trial for a hate crime. Court says nothing about the veracity of slogan.

Published: Jul 05, 2021, 7:06 pm | On Twitter

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