Friday, December 9

Those accused of harassing an independentista on WhatsApp allege that they were “joking”

“Up Spain motherfucker.” The name of the WhatsApp group was not misleading. There they included Marta Torrecillas, the voter of the referendum on 1-O 2017, without her permission, in whom an agent of the National Police caused capsulitis on her fingers. Her public denunciation on television after her vote caused Torrecillas to suffer thousands of messages and calls in which she was ridiculed and threatened for her ideology and for being a woman. Four men have been tried this Monday as responsible for them. The Prosecutor’s Office asks for almost two years in prison.

“It was a shock, I felt attacked. I was afraid to go down the street, it stressed me a lot and I had insomnia,” Torrecillas said in court. The mosso d’esquadra who analyzed Torrecillas’ phone has found that the device was “collapsed” when the woman reported the messages on October 4, 2017: there were more than 7,800 messages and 300 calls. “The mobile did not stop ringing,” said the agent.

The defendants have chosen not to reveal how they got the Torrecillas number and have assured that they did not know who the woman was before including her in the group and insulting her, despite the public relevance that the young woman had achieved after appearing in the media as injured from 1-O.

However, the messages give them away. In them, the defendants specifically make fun of the finger injuries suffered by Torecillas on 1-O, and also mention the store where she worked. After asking if “the bitch” was already “within” the group, an avalanche of humiliating and discriminatory messages began, written by two of the defendants. One has alleged that he only included Torrecillas in the chat but that he did not write any message and that he wanted to “disassociate himself” from the harassment by expelling several members of the group.

It was more complicated for the two defendants who, among other humiliating messages, wrote “look at your ID, pig”, “they won’t even touch you with a stick, pig”, “we’re going to burn down the premises”, “How do you have your little fingers And the tits”, “they can’t even touch them with a stick, bitch”, “you’re uglier than (sic) independence”, “they used a condom, long live the Civil Guard, long live Spain, you’ll always be Spanish”, “get it tattooed, look the DNI sow”, “how you enjoyed when they broke your hands” “we have to make sure we go to your place”.

His explanation of the messages has not been to deny them, but to make them less relevant. “Let’s see, the messages can be understood that they are unpleasant but not towards a specific person, in the end it is a phone number in a chat, quite full of jokes and such,” asserted one of the defendants, who at the end of his statement He has apologized to Torrecillas. He has been the only one of the four who has done so.

“The messages were not referring to her,” the second of those accused of the most serious insults has maintained, despite questions from the prosecutor about the fact that they wrote the injuries suffered by Torrecillas and the name of their premises. “He was a joke, nothing more, he thought she was a colleague of ours,” continued the accused, who has maintained that he knew who he was insulting when he discovered that the Mossos were investigating him. “A friend told me that the Mossos were investigating us and I said ‘it can’t be’, then I realized it and said ‘bua'”.

The last defendant in the case is a man, a retired air traffic controller, who has no relationship with the WhatsApp group but who sent a denigrating SMS against Torrecillas from a mobile in his name. “You would like to have boobs as hard as your face, and nipples as stiff as your fingers in plaster, all to see if a cop shows up to grope you,” the message read. The defendant, despite the fact that before the trial he had reached an agreement with the Prosecutor’s Office to admit the facts and accept a fine, has retracted and has alleged that the cell phone belonged to his mother, who lived in a nursing home, thus pointing that someone from the residence is the author of the SMS.

After the statements of defendants and witnesses, the prosecutor has requested for each of the three defendants in the chat a sentence of one year and nine months in prison and pay a fine of 3,000 euros as they are considered authors of a crime against fundamental rights with the aggravating circumstance ideologically motivated. The fourth defendant, the SMS man, has requested a fine of 900 euros for a minor crime of threats.

For his part, the lawyer Xavier Monge, who represents Torrecillas, has raised the request for a sentence of up to two years and nine months in prison for each of the four defendants, considering them to be the perpetrators of hate crimes and threats, which adds two aggravating factors: due to ideological discrimination and due to the gender of the victim. The trial has been seen for sentencing.