Thursday, May 19

Acquitted of hate crime those accused of insulting and harassing an independentista by WhatsApp

The Barcelona Court has sentenced two men to pay 450 euros for a crime of minor threats to Marta Torrecillas, the woman whose fingers were injured by a national police officer in a school in Barcelona during the 1-O 2017 referendum , although he has acquitted them of the hate crime for which they were accused, considering that the young independentista is not part of the minority groups that are the object of protection for this crime. The other two defendants have been acquitted.

The case judged in the Barcelona Court seated four men on the bench for including Torrecillas without her permission in a Whatsapp group called “Arriba España hija puta”, where they insulted, ridiculed and threatened her for her ideology and for being a woman calling her “bitch”, “whore” or with messages like “look at your ID, pig”, “they won’t even touch you with a stick, pig”, “we’re going to burn down your place”, “how do you have your little fingers? And the tits.” When the woman reported the messages from her on October 4, 2017, she had received more than 7,800 messages and 300 calls.

Of the four defendants, one sent her an SMS and the other three were part of a Whatsapp group in which she was included. According to the Agència Catalana de Notícies (ACN), in the sentence the Court notes that the expressions of the four defendants, beyond being criticizable, “do not constitute an attack on society or especially on minority groups subject to protection by a hate crime”, but rather they are attacks directed individually at Torrecillas.

The Chamber also highlights that the victim’s perception of seriousness, which he considers “legitimate”, was surely increased by aspects unrelated to the conduct of the accused, such as the reception of hundreds of calls and messages by third parties. persons. Regarding the specific expressions of the four defendants, the court underlines that, “beyond deserving all the rejection precisely because of its offensive and pejorative nature, the truth is that they do not have the seriousness that is also required for the concurrence of a hate crime. ”.

Regarding the crime of threats, of the three participants in the WhatsApp group, one was the administrator and was the one who introduced Torrecillas in the chat, but seeing the expressions that were being written, he decided to expel her from the group. Her comments had “a tone of ridicule”, states the sentence. That is why he has been acquitted of all crimes.

The other two chat participants, on the other hand, have been sentenced for minor threats, since they wrote messages not only of an offensive nature, to “despised and humiliate her”, but also intended to scare her and had an “intimidating mood”. Some of them referred to her place, which shows that they had obtained her address and that there was the possibility of locating her, “thus increasing the feeling of uneasiness or fear that she may harbor,” the sentence highlights.

Headed by the lawyer Lucas Arias, the defense of the group’s administrator, acquitted of all crimes, has celebrated the sentence and has considered that justice has been done “without entering into assessing external subjective or ideological elements.”

The private accusation attributed to the three members of the chat a hate crime and another of aggravated threats of discrimination for ideological and gender reasons, for which it requested a sentence of one and a half years in prison for the first and one year and three months for the second, in addition to fines and compensation for moral damages of 3,000 euros. For the fourth defendant, who sent the SMS, the same penalties were requested for the same crimes, with compensation of 1,000 euros.

For its part, the Prosecutor for Leisure Crimes considered that in the case of the first three defendants they were perpetrators of a hate crime, for which they requested a sentence of one year and nine months, a fine and compensation of 2,000 euros. The fourth accused accused him of a minor crime of threats and demanded a fine of 300 euros.

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