Order for the seizure of an edition of El Jueves, a process that would lead to the conviction of two cartoonists for a joke about Felipe and Letizia.
Tomorrow marks the 14th anniversary of one of the most shameful passages in the trampling of freedom of expression related to humour in our recent history.
Although at that time it seemed that almost all matters related to the monarchy were being dealt with in a relaxed way from different humorous fronts, Judge Juan del Olmo Gálvez decided to punch a fist on the table. Specifically that of the cartoonists Guillermo and Manel Fontdevila, and ordered the seizure of an edition of the magazine El Jueves, accusing them of insulting the Crown.
The authors were convicted and sentenced. While many publicly rejected the kidnapping and subsequent conviction, the silence of many others was thunderous, and worse still, not to forget the support or justification of this outrage by some.
Guillermo, in this article of “Cuarto Poder” also highlights the “curiosity” that they ended up in the dock because of the denunciation of a “supposedly progressive” prosecutor, Cándido Gómez Pumpido.
The then vice-president of the PSOE government, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, also defended the decision shortly after the incident took place. Curiously, from the ranks of the PP they questioned the matter more, recalls Guillermo.
At the time, Twitter was just over a year old and the networks were not yet “burning” so much, but the internet was not a desert either. All the chicha was still happening in blogs, forums and on sites like Menéame, the case immediately became national news and from there it jumped to many other countries. That day I wrote what I think is the longest post on this blog, which I updated over several days.
El Jueves nº 1573, unreal sex or the story of a kidnapping
The cover of issue 1573 of El Jueves will surely be the most viewed in the history of this magazine, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. I have no problem writing for another 30 years about the absurdity of the measure of kidnapping the magazine.
Summary of the story
On 20 July 2007, Judge del Olmo ordered the seizure of issue 1,573 of the magazine El Jueves (see self) and requested that all copies be withdrawn from points of sale, the reason being its cover.
The prosecutor even ordered the “disconnection” of the “El Jueves” website, although this would not have been necessary, as it immediately collapsed due to an avalanche of visits. This story had international repercussions.
The kidnapping of publications ordered by the judges after Franco’s death for information related to the Crown considered insulting was not new either, although in those days it had not happened for more than 20 years for this reason.
The Spanish Constitution prohibits prior censorshipof publications, but still allows them to be seized once on the street if a judge determines that they violate certain fundamental rights.
The cover, with a drawing by Guillermo and script by Manelunder the caption“2,500 euros per child” showed caricatures of Prince Felipe and Letizia in bed practising the doggy style, the scene illustrated a joke about the popularly known “baby cheque” that was to be approved by the ZP government and which granted aid to families whose children were born between 1 July 2007 and 31 December 2010. In the picture, Felipe smilingly comments to Letizia:
“Do you realise? If you get pregnant… This is going to be the closest thing to working
I’ve ever done in my life!”
The head of the Central Court of Instruction number 6, sent a request to the director of the magazine to identify the authors of the caricature, because they could have allegedly committed crimes against the Crown under articles 490.3 and 491 of the Penal Code. If so, they faced sentences of up to two years’ imprisonment for slander or libel against the king or his descendants.
One of the most absurd anecdotes was that the judge pretended to withdraw the magazine’s plates, specifically “the mould”. Another absurdity was the debate in the media and on the internet about “foul language and rudeness”, as if rudeness were a criminal offence.
On 13 November 2007, the cartoonists were found guilty of the crime of insulting the crown prince and the judge fined them 3,000 euros (the prosecutor had asked for 6,000) for each of the cartoonists, considering that both the drawing and the text of the cartoon were “objectively insulting”.
The Constitutional Court dismissed the magazine’s appeal against the sentence handed down by the National High Court. It was announced that an appeal would be lodged with the Strasbourg court, but in the end it did not succeed due to a question of form, and that was the end of the matter, leaving a beautiful stain of legal shit in the history of humour.
Humour in trouble, a compilation of cases (III)
Cases of cartoonists who have had problems of some importance because of their cartoons or satirical illustrations. There are also some stories of other people who, without being cartoonists, have got into trouble for sharing them.