The Provincial Court of Madrid has revoked the acquittal of two Femen activists who chained themselves to the altar of Almudena cathedral and has sentenced them to a fine of 2,190 euros each for a crime of desecration.
The criminal court number 23 in Madrid had absolved the two women of a hate crime and several against religious feelings for the events that occurred on June 13, 2014 in the cathedral of Almudena in a protest in favor of abortion.
The Court considers, however, that "the conduct of the defendants can not be considered protected by the freedom of expression", since they chose a symbolic catholic temple of Madrid "to carry out the physically acts offensive and vexatious for the feelings of the catholics".
They also assured themselves, the sentence continues, that they would have "the maximum possible public repercussion", since they were accompanied by journalists who recorded their performance and the images were disseminated in numerous medias, so that their action "had as recipients all Catholics."
"Offending the feelings of Catholics through acts that are offensive to the most important symbol of the Catholic Religion, such as the Cross, is not justified by their disagreement with the ideas of the Catholic Church about the reform of the abortion law," the court said. , who remembers that they could express their opinion in another place.
The acquittal had been appealed by both the prosecution and the private prosecution, exercised by the Christian Lawyers Association, which also requested a conviction for hate crimes and for the crime of preventing, interrupting or disturbing the acts, functions, ceremonies or manifestations of religious confessions.
The Hearing dismisses it and explains that it has not been proved that the objective of the action was "the humiliation, the contempt, the insult or the discredit of the Catholics" nor induce others to humiliate them and "even less to act violently against them".
Its objective was to give public relevance to its opinion in favor of abortion as an inalienable right, the court continues before explaining again the choice of the crime of desecration.
What happened, stresses, "could not be considered protected in the freedom of expression when such manifestations or expressions are made in places intended for the cult of a particular religion, as in this case, is the Catholic, accompanied by clearly offensive physical acts on objects unequivocally sacred for this as is the Cross, the main symbol of Christianity. "
It condemns them to a penalty of twelve months of fine with a daily fee of six euros, with the possibility of punishing them with one day of deprivation of liberty for every two unpaid installments.
LThe events occurred at 9 a.m. on June 13, 2014When the women entered the Almudena, they went to the great cross located in the presbytery, they undressed from the waist up and were chained to the latticed latticework that surrounds the cross.
The expressions on the torso were written "Altar to abort", "Gallardón inquisitor", "illegal abortion" or "take the altar", phrases similar to the one they uttered during the five minutes in which they remained chained.
In the sentence of acquittal, the crime of desecration was ruled out on the understanding that it required physical contact on objects susceptible to being desecrated and that they had only been chained at the base of the cross, but the Provincial Court considers that "physical contact" is not necessary and "physical acts" are enough.
What happened, he says, was not "a mere virtual or gestural desecration that would not go beyond the limit of a verbal offense". Femen's action was framed in the debate that had prompted the reform of the regulation of abortion that had been promoted by the Ministry of Justice directed by Alberto Ruiz Gallardón and which was finally withdrawn.