Acquitted the artist who painted Franco's tombstone in the Valley of the Fallen

The Court of Madrid has decided to acquit the artist Enrique Tenreiro, accused of various crimes for painting a dove and the message "for freedom" on Franco's tombstone in the Basilica del Valley of the Fallen in October 2018. The Prosecutor's Office requested a year in prison for him and the popular accusation, the Valle de los Caídos Defense Association, two years for crimes against freedom of conscience and acts of desecration and damage. The State Attorney appeared to request, by civil means, that the artist had to compensate the National Heritage with 833 euros for the damage caused to the tomb.

The artist who painted Franco's tombstone sits on the bench and faces a jail request

The artist who painted Franco's tombstone sits on the bench and faces a jail request

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The events took place shortly before the mass of the October 31, 2018 in the Basilica of the Valley of the Fallen, a year before the exhumation of the remains of the dictator. The Galician artist drew a dove with red paint on top of the tombstone along with the message "for freedom" and then addressed those present who had attended mass: "For the reconciliation of the Spanish," he told them. The proven facts of the sentence reflect that he did all this but also that he had no intention of disturbing the religious meeting and that he limited himself to expressing his opinion on the presence of the dictator's corpse in the Valley of the Fallen.

In the first place, the judges reject that the artist wanted to offend the religious beliefs of those who were there for the mass. "The mass had not started, second, he acted alone and quickly and the slogans launched in no way went against the religious beliefs of those who might be present there," they say about this first crime. It was, say the magistrates, "an act of minor disturbance" that cannot be considered a crime. "It is clear that against his presence in that place and not against the religious feelings of those present," says the Court about the true object of the artist's protest.

Nor do they believe that the graffiti desecrated the dictator's tomb. "This is a figure with a career as head of state and the purpose of the accused was not to vilify his person as such, but to express an idea about his presence in the place, without concurring a spirit of outrage" , settle the magistrates in a sentence that has not been unanimous and that is still appealable before the Superior Court of the region. The judges explain that the artist executed a graffiti and that cannot be equated to criminal damage.

"Ideas are not expressed that way"

this sentence It is not the end of the case. The resolution can be appealed before the Superior Court by the Prosecutor's Office or by the other accusation and also has the private vote of a magistrate who is committed to convicting Tenreiro of the two crimes of which he was accused. Judge Francisco Manuel Oliver Egea understands that the artist's intention was to offend the religious sentiments of those who were waiting for the celebration of the mass and to offend the buried dictator. "It would be an act that violates not only respect for the deceased but also religious sentiments," explains the dissenting opinion, as long as the sentence of the majority of the court.

Those graffiti, for the judge, supposed a violation of the tomb of the dictator. "Ideas are not expressed that way. Freedom of expression cannot protect, in any case, acts such as those carried out by the accused," says this magistrate. The private vote launches harsh reproaches at the artist, who is recommended to go to social networks or the media to make this type of protest, understanding that he offended the religious faction of society: "That is what democracy consists of: respecting the ideas and feelings of others no matter how much you disagree with them," he says.

The dissenting magistrate even understands that his action of protesting with a graffiti against the presence of the dictator in the Valley of the Fallen - exhumed one year later - went against the reconciliation that he extolled in his later words. "What he achieved is to cut off, precisely, that reconciliation," reproaches the magistrate.


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