July 29, 2021

Congress opens the reform of the Penal Code to decriminalize crimes of opinion and insults to the Crown


The Plenary of Congress has supported opening the reform of the Penal Code to decriminalize crimes of opinion and insults to the Crown and State institutions, crimes against religious sentiments and the glorification of terrorism. The initiative has been defended by United We Can and has had the support of the PSOE, which has offered dialogue and consensus. Both PP and Vox have rejected the proposal.


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The president of the United We Can parliamentary group, Jaume Asens, has assured that the intention of his initiative is “to shield the exercise of fundamental rights, now threatened by obsolete crimes”; “modernize” a Penal Code with “Francoist hindrances”; “comply” with the United We Can program and the mandate of Europe; and ensure that no artist ends up in jail.

Asens has defended that “with this law Spain will stop leading the list of artists most condemned” and has insisted that “today is an important day” because the “progressive forces” are going to “demonstrate that a democratic response can be given different”.

In the framework of his intervention, he has made reference to the convicted rappers Valtònyc and Pablo Hasél and has charged against the Spanish judicial system, which – in his opinion – has a “leadership” that is “colonized and kidnapped by the right” and some “censors disguised as judges.”

The PSOE “does not agree” on everything

The PSOE deputy Odón Elorza has agreed on the need to “accommodate” the regulations to “a reality that has changed” considering that the Penal Code has “concepts that do not correspond to the times”, but has acknowledged that “no agrees with any of the derogations proposed by the proponent “.

In this sense, he has supported taking into account the initiative of United We Can, but has advanced that the PSOE will make “contributions” to face the debate with the premise of “seeking consensus”, inviting “social dialogue” and “attending” the recommendations of international institutions.

Elorza recalled that there is “an important set of recommendations” from the United Nations Human Rights Council and the European Court of Human Rights that “invite a review of the Penal Code.” He has insisted that it is a requirement that “must be met” and not a “matter of whim.”

During his turn to speak, the socialist has assured that the reform will not “unprotect anyone” or “grant impunity for anything” and recalled that the honor of people and symbols “already have their defense framework “. “There will be no defenselessness,” he said to later specify that the objective is to classify crimes “with proportionality.”

The PNV asks for calm and wait for the Government

The PNV has also asked for calm. His Justice and Interior spokesman, Mikel Legarda, has asked that the taking into consideration does not involve immediate processing, since he believes it is appropriate to wait for the bill that the Government has publicly promised and that also addresses the reform of the regulations.

Jon Iñarritu, from EH Bildu, has also advanced that his training supports initiating this reform because he considers that the Penal Code has “archaic articles” with “origin in Francoism” that “greatly protect the head of state.” Of course, as he has said, he will present amendments to the articles.

For the deputy spokesperson for Esquerra Republicana, Carolina Telechea, the United We Can initiative “is a good start” and they hope that “it will be processed quickly”, although she has also criticized that no mention is made of other pending reforms such as crimes of sedition and rebellion, or the repeal of the Citizen Security Law, known by its detractors as the ‘gag law’.

Also More Country, the CUP and the Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG) have supported in the debate the processing of the UNidas Podemos initiative.

On the contrary, from the Popular Party, Vox and Ciudadanos have already advanced their rejection of the initiative. The “popular” spokesperson in the Constitutional Commission, Edurne Uriarte, has criticized the proposal, considering that it “pursues” “impunity for all those who want to attack symbols and institutions”, as well as those who want to “apologize for terrorism.”

Other countries have similar rules

In his speech, Uriarte has made reference to the regulations of other European countries such as Germany, Belgium and France to defend that the Spanish Penal Code is consistent with an “advanced democracy” and has said “concerned” by the fact that the PSOE go to support the initiative because that “is going to be serious for our democracy.”

The deputy of Vox, Víctor Sánchez del Real has confirmed his vote against because he believes that Podemos only seeks “impunity.” “Why do you need this now? What atrocities do you have prepared?”, He asked and then invited the deputies of the ‘purple’ formation to ‘control themselves a little’ in what they say so as not to be sanctioned under the Penal Code.

From Ciudadanos, Deputy Guillermo Díaz has also expressed his rejection and has criticized Podemos for wanting to change the law. “They have problems because they are faltones, wash your mouths,” he told Asens.

Carlos García Adanero, from Unión del Pueblo Navaro (UPN) in the Mixed Group, has been against the proposal and has reproached the ‘morados’ for “questioning the” Spanish judicial system and “saying that the judges are at the service of a political party “, as well as, for example, the laws of the United States and not those of Cuba or Venezuela.

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