It says that Criminal Law cannot be used to “silence opinions, no matter how bitter, unbridled or unfair” that are
MADRID, 19 (.)
The Supreme Court (TS) has not admitted for processing the complaint filed by Manos Limpias against the Minister of Equality, Irene Montero, for an alleged crime of insulting State institutions, which was based on the criticism of the leader of Unidas Podemos to the judges for their application of what is known as the ‘law of only yes is yes’.
The Manos Limpias complaint was also directed against the Government delegate against Gender Violence, Victoria Rosell, but the Supreme Court explains that it is not competent to hear her case because she is not registered before the high court.
The union pointed to the statements made by Montero “in almost all the media” between November 14 and 17 with “vejatory expressions” for the judges and magistrates who applied the first sentence reductions for the ‘law of only if it is Yeah’. Specifically, he remembers that they were called “macho”, “fascists” and “prevaricators”.
The Criminal Chamber maintains that the statements made by Montero are protected by the fundamental right to freedom of expression insofar as they refer to an opinion in relation to “a matter of general interest” that were pronounced “in a context that, both Due to their object as well as the subject that emits them, they present an eminently political nature”.
“Criminal law is not –and should not be– a suitable tool to remove roughness in political discourse, nor to impose a courteous, discreet and elegant style. In a democratic State, as ours undoubtedly is, there is no room for the use of Criminal Law to silence opinions, no matter how bitter, unbridled or unfair they may seem”, wields the Supreme Court.
The resolution, presented by magistrate Leopoldo Puente, adds that, “otherwise, it would cause a clear discouraging or disincentive effect in relation to the free expression of ideas or opinions, generated by the fear that it could cause to those who express them, if considered those as excessive or hurtful, the eventual imposition of sanctions of a criminal nature”.
“THE DESIRABLE”, A “CONSTRUCTIVE” CRITICISM
However, the Supreme Court emphasizes that, although “there is no doubt” that judicial decisions “can be, and should be, the object of criticism, “what is desirable, as always, is that, –very especially when it comes from those to whom the exercise of other public functions corresponds–, it is formulated in a reasoned, constructive, tolerant manner” and “fleeing from fuss and affected overreactions” to contribute “to improvement”.
In any case, it stresses that “it is not here, –in the criminal jurisdiction–, where it is appropriate to assess the prudence or containment, even in criticism, of the expressions proffered; nor, of course, the style used in them or even their reasonableness”, since “all these are circumstances that depend on multiple aspects, subjective and objective”.
Likewise, the magistrates take the opportunity to recall that, according to the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court (TC), the right to freedom of expression “determines a broad channel for the exchange of ideas and opinions, which must be generous enough to allow develop without narrowness, that is, without timidity and without fear”.
“In this case, the statements that are considered insulting by the complainant were issued in relation to a current issue and public interest (…), therefore the doctrine exposed in relation to the strengthening of the barriers that protect the right to freedom of expression, especially when it comes to political discourse, acquires full meaning”, they state.