The national leadership of the PSOE has denounced before the Valladolid Prosecutor’s Office the tweeter Luis Pérez Fernández, known on the networks as Alvise, “for the publication on social networks Twitter and Facebook of messages of a seriously offensive nature for the Spanish Socialist Workers Party and for Mr. Óscar Puente Santiago, member of the Federal Executive Commission of the Psoe and Mayor President of the city of Valladolid “, who considers that they constitute a crime of slander with publicity.
In the complaint, made on September 1, it is also directed “against all those who may appear responsible for the events now brought to the attention of the Public Prosecutor’s Office.” It is the first time that the party acts judicially, despite the fact that not only Puente has been the target of the tweeter. The former Minister of Development, José Luis Ábalos has also appeared in Alvise’s tweets, and the former Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, of whom he published a false positive PCR document for which the Prosecutor’s Office has denounced him.
The PSOE considers that the jurisdiction of the Prosecutor’s Office is contained in article 215 of the Penal Code, which orders to proceed ex officio when the offense is directed against a public official, authority or agent of the same on facts concerning the exercise of their positions. It also adds that in the defamatory campaign against Óscar Puente there are also “very serious injuries and interference in his honor and in his personal and family privacy,” although he is the only one to report such events.
The PSOE defines Alvise as “a mere agitator and propagandist of the most reactionary right who, in this technological society, uses the internet and its social networks as a means of constant harassment of politicians who are not to their liking, usually on the left” and considers that this type of harassment for ideological reasons that previously used the de facto means, “now uses digital tools to spread slander and insults without any foundation, covered with an apparent dissemination of pseudo-journalistic information.”
An “obsessive political persecution” that also affects journalists
According to the Socialist Party, the complaint “is not the product of the classic conflict between fundamental rights, between freedom of expression and the right to honor or information, this is a complaint against obsessive and compulsive political persecution that exceeds all limits , a true digital cyberbullying, which some sectors of Spanish society are determined to resuscitate “.
Alvise Pérez’s harassment campaign began on July 30, when he began to publish daily tweets that according to the PSOE invade the personal sphere of Puente, of whom he broadcast images with his companion on the beach on August 2, “all this seasoned with cocky and contemptuous comments “, while demanding his resignation.
The PSOE also refers, although the “primary objective” of the tweeter is the mayor of Valladolid, who does not escape his “tricks” anyone “away from their ideological positions.” The specific tweets against Puente for which the PSOE denounces Alvise for considering them “constituting a crime of slander with advertising directed against an authority on facts concerning the exercise of his position”, are several. On August 3, Alvise attributed to Puente “the responsibility of a crime of coercion and another of influence peddling and / or prevarication”, when closing a restaurant for “luminosis” [en realidad aluminosis] until ruining it so that later the transfer, according to the tweeter, benefits a relative of the mayor, who obtained a license.
The PSOE argues that, in addition to not providing any evidence of the serious accusations directed at the mayor, it is obvious that both the closure of the restaurant due to aluminosis and the obtaining of a license are consequences of the initiation of the corresponding administrative file, with the intervention of different municipal officials and technicians, which makes it very difficult, if not impossible, what he accuses Óscar Puente.
Accusations without evidence, insults and intimidation
In another tweet, published on August 5, 2021, he accuses Óscar Puente of prevarication by benefiting a relative by granting him an urban planning license in breach of the requirements for it. On August 6, in two other tweets, the defendant linked the modification of the PGOU and the existence of eight municipal licenses with the temporary use by the Mayor of a company vehicle that, according to the defendant, would constitute the payment or sovereign to benefit to the enterprise. “As in the previous messages, there is no proof of said connection, nor of the commission of any crime, with a conscious disregard for the truth,” concludes the PSOE.
“Beyond a cocky and badass use of our language, insult and intimidation and despite the fact that with each new message he announces the presentation of the evidence that will support his accusations, these do not appear, they never do, discovering that in reality there are no well-founded accusations, there are totally gratuitous slander, “he stresses. “So much so, that finally, the slanderer himself, in a message on August 25, limits his slander to two crimes: bribery and influence peddling, stating that he has discovered clear crimes” which he attributes to Óscar Puente. The PSOE adds that it is “awaiting” evidence to confirm these “clear crimes”, although “of its slander, its insults, its harassment and its extortion” it has evidence “to hundreds”, on Facebook and Twitter.
For all these reasons, the Party understands that the messages constitute an alleged crime of slander with publicity, of articles 205 and 211 of the Penal Code, by charging Puente with the commission of various crimes “with knowledge of their falsehood or reckless contempt towards the truth by propagating it by means of the printing press, broadcasting or by any other means of similar efficiency “. Article 206 of the Penal Code punishes slander with prison sentences of six months to two years or a fine of 12 to 24 months, if they are propagated with publicity.
Regarding the question of specifying whether the comments or tweets published must be protected by freedom of expression or the right to information, when formulated as political information or, on the contrary, the right to honor, as an expression of the dignity of the person , must prevail against unjust attacks, recalls that as it has been outlined throughout reiterated jurisprudence, “the attack on honor takes place both in the internal framework of the affected person and in the external or social sphere”.
Quote jurisprudence of the Supreme Court (STS of December 19, 2011, February 9, 2012, February 29, 2012, March 13, 2012 and April 2, 2012) in which it is stated that the right to honor protects against to attacks on personal reputation understood as the appreciation that others may have of a person regardless of their wishes, preventing the dissemination of insulting expressions or messages, infamous tricks or humiliations that objectively provoke discredit. It also recalls that the judgment of Chamber I of the Supreme Court no. 297/2016 of May 5, 2016 in its foundation 3 when clarifying a conflict between freedom of expression and the right to honor in a context of political conflict, denies the existence of the right to insult or simple lies.