The Court of Instruction 13 of Madrid has filed the complaint presented by Pablo Iglesias, former vice president of the Government and former leader of Podemos, against a Facebook group with thousands of registered police officers and baptized as the Spanish Spring of CENEPE (in reference to the acronym CNP, from National Police Corps). The former political leader asked that the chat be investigated for possible threats, insults, slander and a possible hate crime. But the magistrate has ruled it out and shelved the case, considering that the messages published are only insults “poured into a private forum.” Iglesias has already appealed.
The former leader of Podemos presented a complaint on April 30 at the congressional police station. At that time, he was still in the front line of politics: he had just left the Government to attend the elections of the Community of Madrid. Iglesias contributed a battery of messages posted on the Facebook group: among them, those that read “son of the great bitch, rat, scum, garbage … I’m not saying what I would do because I’m buckled up, pig”; “I used to fuck his wife …”; “He will always be the parasite friend of the terrorists” and “whoever sows winds gathers storms.”
The politician considered these publications as “serious comments and threats against me, people in my family environment and State authorities.” “It is especially serious because these behaviors are being produced by alleged agents of the police authority,” added the complaint, where it was riveted: “The messages in this group, due to its large number of members, more than 15,000, are directed or are suitable so that they publicly encourage, promote or directly incite hatred, hostility, discrimination or violence against a group or individuals for reasons of ideology ”. Iglesias and his partner, Minister Irene Montero, have denounced the campaign of harassment they have suffered for months in their own home and that has left several sentences in court.
In the filing order, dated November 23 and to which EL PAÍS had access, Judge Hermenegildo Alfredo Barrera rules out the crimes denounced by the former leader of Podemos. The magistrate, who has the support of the prosecutor, affirms that these messages are not threats: “They only consist of insults.” It also rejects the hate crime because the publications are not directed against Churches for their belonging to a group specially protected by the Penal Code, “but as a concrete and individual person”: “Furthermore, no danger is found for a group of people as a consequence of the phrases that constitute the insults. There are no threats, and without prejudice to the criticism they may contain, it cannot be considered that an attack on the physical integrity of the complainant is being encouraged ”.
The magistrate adds that it is “a private forum [formado] by people who, apart from not being identified, lack public notoriety ”. “It is ignored how the complainant himself has been able to obtain access to said group, inasmuch as he only allows access after verification and authorization of the administrators,” the order adds: “There are rude phrases and even that border on crudeness, but what It is in a criminal procedure is to verify whether or not there is a crime. Likewise, taking into account when the complaint is filed and the age of the messages, the complainant was no longer a member of the Government ”.
Iglesias filed an appeal this Wednesday, where he reproaches the judge for not “ordering” the taking of any test. In addition, the former vice president’s lawyer says that the messages should be valued as made in public: “Consider that the diffusion to more than 10,000 people can be considered [como un] closed group, entails altering the true meaning of the publicity of the performance ”. “It is about thousands of people supposedly belonging to the National Police Corps, elements that in humble understanding of this part configure its seriousness,” he adds in his allegations.
An administrator of the Spanish Spring of the CENEPE assured EL PAÍS that the comments against politicians “are punctual.” The Prosecutor’s Office already shelved in March another open investigation into the WhatsApp chat of a group of retired officers from the Air Force in which one member spoke of “shooting 26 million” Spaniards and, among other issues, another raised the possibility of give a coup against the Government. The public prosecutor concluded that the comments did not fit into the hate crime as they were made in a “private” setting.