30 Jul 2015

Spanish man fined up to €600 under new gag laws for calling police 'slackers' in Facebook post

A young man in Spain has been fined for calling the police lazy in a Facebook post – becoming the first citizen to fall foul of a series of controversial new “gag” laws.
The 27-year-old man, identified only as Eduardo D in national media reports, described the local police force as a “class of slackers” in a series of online posts which he described as humorous.

The Spanish senate approved the Citizen Security Law in March, and its effects came into force at the start of July. It has been widely criticised with UN human rights experts stating it would “unnecessarily and disproportionately restrict basic freedoms”.

According to the Spanish daily El Pais, Eduardo made three comments on Facebook criticising the money spent on police facilities in his town of Güímar, Tenerife.
He also accused local authorities of misappropriating a public building, and in a third post suggested local police were so lazy they might as well have “a hammock and a swimming pool” at each station. 

Eduardo made the comments on 22 July, according to theSpanish edition of The Local, and that afternoon he received a visit from police accusing him of “making comments on social media that showed a lack of respect and consideration for Güímar’s local police”.
He now faces a fine of between €100 and €600, and told El Pais he had appointed a lawyer to fight the “madness” of the penalisation process.

One of the first uses of the nationwide so-called “gag laws”, Eduardo’s case comes amid a backdrop of a range of bizarre new laws across Spanish municipalities following the sweeping success of left-wing groups at elections two months ago.
They included the introduction of a compulsory siesta in the town of Ador near Valencia, attempts to limit tourists only to the most popular destinations in Barcelona, and the setting-up of a so-called “Ministry of Truth” in Madrid.

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