Spain: Torching of royal couple photo complaint reaches court judgement

Two Spaniards, fined after torching a photo of the country’s royal couple, will find out tomorrow (Tuesday 13 March 2018)  if their human rights complaint is supported by Strasbourg judges.

Stern Taulats and Roura Capellera v. Spain (no. 51168/15)

The applicants, Enric Stern Taulats and Jaume Roura Capellera, are two Spanish nationals who were born in 1988 and 1977 and live in Girona and Banyoles.

The case concerns the conviction in criminal proceedings of two Spanish nationals for setting fire to a photograph of the royal couple in 2007.

In September 2007, while the King was on a visit to Girona, the applicants set fire during a public demonstration to a large photograph of the royal couple which they had placed upside down.

As a result, they were sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment for insulting the Crown. The judge subsequently replaced that penalty with a fine of 2,700 euros each but ruled that, in the event of failure to pay the fine in whole or in part, the applicants would have to serve the prison term.

That judgment was upheld by the Audiencia Nacional on 5 December 2008. When the judgment became final the applicants paid the fine. However, they lodged an amparo appeal with the Constitutional Court, which was dismissed.

Relying on Article 10 (freedom of expression), the applicants allege that the judgment finding them guilty of insulting the Crown amounted to unjustified interference with their right to freedom of expression.



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