MAN faces up to two years in jail for insulting King Felipe on Facebook
The Local Police in Murcia are have launched an investigation into a 40-year-old man from Alhama for alleged crimes against the Crown after he posted unsavoury comments about Spain’s head of state, King Felipe VI, on Facebook.
Police are conducting an ‘ex officio’ investigation – that is when the police decide to investigate a person where no official complaint has been made – after the individual posted a photo of the monarch, accompanied by the comment “guillotine for King Felipe VI”. While the man has not been arrested, officers will want to speak with him about his social network activity before handing the matter over to the courts, who will decide if legal action should be taken against him.
In Spain, slandering or insulting the monarchy is a serious offence, which carries a custodial sentence of between six months and two years, or a hefty fine, depending on the severity of the crime. The law was very recently implemented with the incarceration of Catalan rapper Pablo Hasél on Tuesday, February 16 for crimes of glorification of terrorism and insults to the Crown through his songs and Twitter messages. His imprisonment has led to several nights of violent protests and riots throughout Spain.
The current Penal Code states that “whoever slanders or insults the king or any of his ascendants or descendants, the queen consort or the queen’s consort, the regent or any member of the regency, or the crown prince, in the exercise of his functions or on the occasion or occasion thereof, he shall be punished with a prison sentence of six months to two years if the slander or injury is serious, and with a fine of six to twelve months if it is not.”
The Ministry of Justice has recently announced its intention to reform the law, establishing ‘dissuasive’ rather than custodial penalties for crimes against the Crown.
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