Justice confirms a fine of 720 euros for inviting the king to "cut the neck" on Twitter

The criminal court of the National audience has decided to confirm the fine of 720 euros imposed on a user of Twitter that in March 2020during the speech of Philip VI to the country, he wrote: "Seriously. Tallem-li el coll a aquet fill de puta, estem tardant. #CoronaCiao", which translated into Spanish means "Seriously. Let's cut this son of a bitch's neck, we're taking a while. #CoronaCiao ". The judges understand that he incurred a crime of insulting the Crown and understand that the tweet was an "invitation to kill the King" and that, therefore, it was not protected by freedom of expression.

The message was written by this user, Albert Baiges, on March 18, 2020 while Felipe de Borbón was on his way to the country in a televised message after the first days of the state of alarm. A seven-minute message in which he thanked the health workers for their work and stated that "this virus will not defeat us. On the contrary, it will make us stronger as a society; a more committed, more supportive, more united society. A society in standing up against any adversity".

Baigues's tweet reached the hands of the Police and later the National High Court, whose central criminal court decided to impose a fine of 720 euros for a crime of insults to the crown. For that first sentence, the tweet "is clearly insulting because that is why it is necessary to call another person a son of a bitch" and is not protected by criticism or freedom of expression since, at your discretion"to show an anti-monarchist conviction it is not necessary to reach the insult, nor accompany it with a public invitation to cut the throat, the latter expression that reflects the clear spirit of insulting that guided the subject when calling the monarch a son of a bitch".

A decision that, as elDiario.es has learned, has just been confirmed by the criminal chamber of the same body. "The content of the message is limited to the insult and the invitation to kill the King, which cannot be protected by the freedom of expression invoked," says the National Court. Nor do the judges consider that, as the tweeter alleged, his message was framed in the context of rejecting the monarchy.

That, says the criminal court, is a "defensive allegation of a general nature" without further evidence and that it was not written in a context of criticism of the institution. "On the contrary, the questioned message was published on the occasion of a televised speech by the King as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a health alarm situation unrelated to any public action by the monarchy, susceptible to public criticism," the experts reason. magistrates.

The sentence that this newspaper has been able to examine also does not take into account that the tweet was hardly spread: two retweets, five quoted messages and 18 "likes". The condemned man also alleged that the tweet did not quote King Felipe VI verbatim beyond a veiled allusion to the Crown in the hashtag used. The judges affirm that his profile was accessible to everyone and that he also had 168 followers at the time, "which is quite a lot," they add. In any case, the minimum sentence was imposed, settle the sentence.

The honor of the Spanish monarchy, says the National Court, was affected from the very moment the condemned man published the tweet "which could be read by anyone as it was shared openly" on a profile with less than 200 followers, "which It is already an important number by itself to appreciate the intention that the comment be read by all of them," says the sentence.

The convicted Twitter user can still take his case to the Supreme Court criminal chamber at a time of intense debate surrounding the crime of insulting the Crown. Throughout this process, the convicted person himself put on the table the European sentence that acquitted two convicted for burning photos of Juan Carlos de Borbón in Catalonia in 2007.

That sentence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) understood that the act of burning the monarch's photo, in that case, was framed in freedom of expression and legitimate criticism of the monarchy and that, therefore, it could not be punished. with jail.

This sentence of the National Court echoes others that have already analyzed this sentence, and cites, for example, the resolution of the Supreme Court that in 2020 confirmed a sentence for the Catalan rapper Pablo 'Hasel' Rivadulla for, among other things, calling Juan Carlos I a "mafioso" and a "thief" on his Twitter account, one of his multiple convictions that led him to prison. That sentence already said that the ECHR ruling on burning a flag did not give carte blanche in insulting the Crown: "In no way does this sentence validate and admit that this servitude exists, but rather clearly marks the guidelines in order to the possibility of that anyone can question or criticize their position in social and public life, which is not the case, going beyond mere public criticism regarding membership of the monarchy".



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