Today Tuesday, at 10:15, the artist Abel Azcona (Pamplona, 1988) should have testified in the investigative court number one of Berga (Catalonia), where a judge investigates him for a "possible crime of desecration, established in Article 254 of the Criminal Code", as well as a "crime against religious feelings ", as stated in the complaint. But Azcona has not shown up, as he already announced to EL PAÍS. The magistrate admitted a new claim filed by the association of Christian lawyers, against the well-known performance in which the artist writes "pedophilia" with consecrated hosts.
This time he made it at the contemporary art center Konvent – a chapel of the former abandoned convent of Cal Rosal, converted into an exhibition hall–, in 2016, a year after announcing the controversial action in Pamplona. He has not testified, because, he said, it is a "persecution against artists." Prefers declare disobedience.
I open my agenda and I have the same number of exhibitions as court appointments
"Enough, we have to stand. It's about taking an artistic responsibility. I invite all the creators to stand. If we do not do this, it will go further. I feel guilty for accepting this normally all these years and going to court every time I have been called to testify or defend myself. It is not normal for an artist, a singer or an actor to be defending, exiling or imprisoned, "Azcona explained by telephone.
The artist has written a letter that he will make public, in which he defends his right to disobey and asks himself: "What is the ultimate purpose of your accusation? Who is your supposed action for reparation addressed to?" And he clarifies that if he fears freedom he could not dare to say "no," "he would not have the courage to be disobedient," because for Azcona, freedom and disobedience "are inseparable."
The day on which the judge of Berga accepted to process the complaint against this artistic creation, Poland Castellanos, president of the applicant association, told Europa Press that she was satisfied with the admission to process, so that "this type of actions are not unpunished. " "The attacks of desecration, attack and offense to Christians who do not have any kind of conviction are very dangerous, they create a climate conducive to hate crimes," added the complainant.
I invite all the creators to stand. If we do not do this, it's going to go
Critical, no offense
However, the holder of the Court of Instruction number 2 of Pamplona, in November 2016, filed the case against the artist. The magistrate was forceful in his sentence: for the magistrate, the exposed work did not constitute derision or vexation, "actions that have to be direct, not indirect". When he testified before the judge, Azcona said that the purpose was not to offend, but to publicly criticize the scourge of pedophilia among the members of the Catholic Church. Thus, the sentence can be read that no crimes against religious feelings are appreciated, because the action did not take place in a place intended for worship or a religious ceremony.
With the reversal of justice still hot, the Prosecutor's Office, the Archbishopric and the Christian lawyers' association filed an appeal, which was dismissed by the National High Court. The ruling indicated that the artistic action is a scenic show in which "provocation or astonishment plays a major role, as well as the aesthetic sense". The Hearing drew attention to the distinction between insults and criticism.
Despite this, the aforementioned association decided to raise a new lawsuit against Azcona –in Berga– for wearing their consecrated forms –collected after having received Communion in 248 Masses– to a new art space to write the word "pedophilia". The judge gave his approval to the lawyers and today he should have gone to testify. "Despite the Pamplona judge's ruling, they persisted in the judicial harassment and presented the case in the Constitutional Court, which did not accept it for processing. In the Strasbourg Court they also presented it, but they did not accept it either, "said Azcona.
Search and seizure
It is not the only appointment that the artist has pending with justice. "This is a persecution. Right now I open my agenda and I have the same number of exhibitions as court appointments. That's how I can not work, "he said. At this time he claims to have causes opened by different artistic projects. One with VOX, another with Hazte Oír and with the Francisco Franco Foundation. "My disobedience is a civil responsibility. I have the right, as an artist, to disobey against the lack of freedoms. I assume the act and will not attend the court. We will see what happens, "said Azcona, who is leaving in March on tour in 18 countries in Latin America and wants to see if they declare a search and capture order against him.
After that action, Azcona has tattooed Donald Trump in the year and has joined 42 political parties (from Vox to PP, through Citizens, Falange, PSOE, Podemos or CUP), to demonstrate that the only ideology is the money. He is not a complacent artist, neither with art lovers nor with those who hate him. He inquires about human rights injuries, about injustice, abuse, mistreatment or religions and all this without pretending to be devious, without reproducing the hypocrisy he denounces in his interventions. The last thing has been to send an invitation to groups of extreme right and religious of all sign to that they fulfill the threats that do to him in the social networks: kill him.