Justice does not recognize the right to be forgotten of a legal ensign who participated in the process of sentencing the poet Miguel Hernández to death by the Franco regime. The National Court has decided to reject the claim of one of his descendants so that almost twenty Internet links cease to be associated with the figure of his father, who was the judicial secretary of the Military Press Court that sentenced the communist poet to death, who finally died of tuberculosis in the Alicante prison in 1942.
“Data protection does not apply to a deceased”: privacy experts criticize the censorship of the name of a member of the court who sentenced Miguel Hernández
The Spanish Agency for Data Protection (AEPD) had already rejected the claims of the descendant of Antonio Luis Baena Tocón, who, among other things, understood that the information disseminated was incorrect about the figure of his father and his role in the process, in addition to his right that eight decades later his name would stop appearing in search engines associated with the death of the poet by the Franco regime, later commuted to 30 years in prison.
Now the National Court has endorsed these arguments and has rejected the claim of the right to oblivion of the descendant of Baena Tocón. “The information that concerns us is of unquestionable public interest as it deals with the intervention of the appellant’s father, as judicial secretary of the Special Press Court that instructed the poet’s procedure,” the judges explain in the first place. They are information about one of the most important literary figures of the Spain of the last century that have, according to the Court, “an undoubted public relevance given the repercussion and interest of said procedure.”
Nor is it relevant that at the time of participating in that process he did not have any opposition and cannot be considered a public official of the Franco regime because, explains the National High Court, “what is relevant is that, being a law graduate, he served as court clerk of the Special Press Court that instructed the summary of the accused and for that reason and for the purposes now examined of weighing the relevance of the exercise of the right to information and expression, it can be understood that he exercised public functions and in a matter of undoubted public relevance.”
For the judges, it is not decisive that the events took place eight decades ago. “The passage of time has not diminished the interest that the matter arouses, proof of this being its repercussion in the media on the dates of filing the claim with the AEPD in May 2019,” says the ruling.
Finally, the judges analyze “the right of Internet users to be informed” about this historical event and the importance of the right to freedom of expression, they conclude that “said links would be protected by freedom of information and expression without their suppression” . The decision can still be appealed before the contentious-administrative chamber of the Supreme Court.