Case 14

Jordi Borràs

A Spanish policeman breaks photojournalist Jordi Borràs’ nose while shouting: “Long live Spain and long live Franco!”

Borràs: “Franco was buried, but Franco’s regime wasn’t”.

Description

On 16 July 2018, Jordi Borràs, a photojournalist, reported that he had been assaulted while he was working at Capellans Street in Barcelona. The aggressor shouted: “Long live Spain!” and “Long live Franco!” and jumped on the photojournalist who suffered several bruises and a broken nose. The aggressor identified himself as a Spanish police officer and when hurriedly leaving the place of the assault, he forgot a bag containing, among other things; a knife. After the attack, Borràs was treated at Peracamps dispensary and the next day he filed a complaint with the Catalan police. Spanish National Police Internal Affairs Department, started a reserved information procedure against the officer involved in the assault, who is a member of the Spanish Police information unit. Both, Jordi Borràs and the police officer had to testify as accused  on 29 October, as ordered by the magistrate in charge of Barcelona’s First Instance Court No 8.

Jordi Borràs after being assaulted. Image from: Quico Sallés /El Món

 

Before

Jordi Borràs is known for his extensive research and photo coverage of national and extreme right wing movements in Catalonia, among other professional achievements. Due to his investigations, certain ideologies and individuals that seemed to have disappeared with the end of Franco’s regime in 1975, have been exposed; thus turning Borràs into the most visible enemy of fascist movements. During a rally of  a far-right group on “Día de la Hispanidad” (12-10-2015), Pedro Chaparro, one of the leaders of  the extreme right unionist movement Democracia Nacional, asked from the stage the 250 some attendees to the rally: “we have seen over there that rat, Jordi Borràs, if you see him fuck the hell out of him!”. Thus, the capacity of Mr. Borràs to cover the event and do his work as a journalist was jeopardized since he had to leave the place fearing for his physical integrity. It needs to be noticed that Chaparro had been one of the assailants to perform an assault against the Office of the Catalan Government in Madrid, The Blanquerna centre during an event in 2013. Mr. Chaparro had been sentenced to a term of imprisonment for this offence, but he has never served the sentence so far.In his own biography, Jordi Borràs described himself as a photojournalist, an illlustrator and member of a group of journalists called Ramon Barnils. This group specialises in social issues and its focus are national and far-right movements operating in Catalonia. Nowadays, Borràs works as a freelance press reporter in some national and international media. In the areas of photography and research journalism stands out his first book: “Warcelona, una història de violència” (Pol·len edicions, 2013) and “Plus ultra, una crònica gràfica de l’espanyolisme a Catalunya” ( Pol·len edicions , 2015), and “Desmuntant Societat Civil Catalana” (Saldonar, 2015). All of them are about extreme right movements and organizations. 

The outcome

 

 On 29 October 2018, Mr. Borràs and the police officerr who had attacked him testified at the City of Justice.

A medical report and some witnesses testifying that they had seen the police officer, assaulting the journalist, proved the injuries denounced by Jordi Borràs to be related to the assault he had suffered. However, the police officer couldn’t prove the aggression he had denounced from Mr. Borràs.

Consequently, this asssault suffered by Jordi Borràs was reported to the European Commission on 18-07-2018 by three MEPs: Josep Maria Terricabras and Jordi Solé (ERC) and Ramon Tremosa (PDECat). They also reported the nazi salutes done by the people gathered at the “Valle de los Caídos” (dictator Francisco Franco’s Mausoleum) on the previous Sunday. 

Under the title: “Far right violence in Catalonia and the legality of publicly advocating for fascism and Francoism” they asked the Community’s executive whether advocating for Francoism violates European law.

As of today, to publicly advocate for Francoisn is not a punishable offence in Spain.

 

Violated laws

Article 1 of the Spanish Constitution (SC): “Spain is hereby established as a social and democratic State, subject to the rule of law, which advocates freedom, justice, equality and political pluralism as highest values of its legal system”.

Article 20.1.d SC- The right to freely communicate or receive truthful information by any means of dissemination whatsoever. The law shall regulate the right to the clause of conscience and professional secrecy in the exercise of these freedoms.

Organic Law 2/1997, June 19, regulatory of Conscience Clause for media professionals: among others, it ensures independence in the exercise of their profession.
Right to personal dignity: Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) judgement 278/2005 “every person has the right to freedom of opinion and speech; the right to investigate and to receive information and opinions and to spread it, without borders limitations, through any way of expression”.

Right to physical integrity, enshrined by Organic Law 10/1995, November 23, of the Spanish Penal Code.

Spanish Penal Code: On the felonies committed when exercising the fundamental rights and public liberties guaranteed by the Spanish Constitution. Article 510: “Those who provoke discrimination, hate or violence against groups or associations due to racist, anti-Semitic reasons or any other related to ideology, region or belief, family situation, belonging to an ethnic group or race, national origin, gender, sexual preference, illness or handicap”.

References

Aggression to photojournalist Jordi Borràs in Barcelona’s city center:
http://www.ccma.cat/324/agressio-al-fotoperiodista-jordi-borras-al-centre-de- barcelona/noticia/2866955/ (in Catalan)


Professional blog of Jordi Borràs
https://jborras.cat/es/blog.html (in Catalan and Spanish)

Catalan Members of the European Parliament ask in the Chamber whether fascist rallies at Valle de los Caídos and fascist salutations, as well as the aggression to photojournalist Jordi Borràs violate European law:
https://www.naciodigital.cat/noticia/159592/agressio/jordi/borras/arriba/unio/europea (in Catalan)

Pedro Chaparro, Leader of the exteme-right unionist movement Democracia Nacional publicly threatens photojournalist Jordi Borràs during a rally
https://www.eldiario.es/politica/Ultraderechistas-antifascistas-manifiestan-Barcelona- incidentes_0_440606237.html (in Spanish)

Documents

Spanish Constitution (Article 15 and 17 about personal safety) and Article 20 about the right to inform “in an uncensored and unhindered way”.
https://www.boe.es/legislacion/documentos/ConstitucionINGLES.pdf (in English)

Organic Law 10/1995, November 23, of the Spanish Penal Code. Article 147
https://wipolex.wipo.int/en/text/269097 (in Spanish)

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