Case 20

Willy Toledo

Spanish actor Willy Toledo sued for blasphemy.

“I shit on God and I have shit to spare to shit on the dogma of “the holiness and virginity of the Virgin Mary”. The actor had posted this message to support three women who were themselves prosecuted for blasphemy after wearing a giant vagina in procession in Seville, which they had called the “rebellious pussy”.

Description

Guillermo Toledo Monsalve born in Madrid on May 22, 1970, better known as Willy Toledo, is a Spanish actor, theatrical producer, and political activist. The defense of his left-wing political ideas led him to be involved in various controversies in the Spanish media. His Facebook profile has been deleted several times.

“I shit on God and I have shit to spare to shit on the dogma of” the holiness and virginity of the Virgin Mary “. This deliberately provocative statement, posted on Facebook in July 2017, is signed by Mr. Toledo. The actor had posted this message to support three women who were themselves prosecuted for blasphemy after wearing a giant vagina in procession in Seville, which they had called the “rebellious pussy”.

The Spanish Association of Christian Lawyers had lodged a complaint against the comedian accusing him of “mocking God and the Virgin Mary”. The judge must now decide whether he returns Toledo to justice. The actor risks a fine.

The « procession of the vagina » Source: el diario.es

Before

The “procession of the vagina” took place on May 1, 2014, during which three women wore a vagina through the center of Seville. A hundred people had joined the march. Several feminist collectives and trade unionists took the streets to claim workers’ rights on International Workers’ Day. The demonstration not only served to highlight the machismo and inequalities in the workplace, but also to make visible “the repression of the feminist movement”, their opposition to the reform of the law on abortion and other problems that continue to perpetuate gender inequalities in Spanish society.

The Seville Public Prosecutor’s Office considers that the defendants, whose trial will take place on March 3, 2019, wanted to “ridicule the dogmas of the Catholic faith”.

The demonstrators explained: “We have reclaimed their codes, their speeches and their practices and we turn them to subversion. We will not tolerate that our rights are violated, that we are repressed and made invisible.”

The outcome

The complaint filed by the Spanish Association of Christian Lawyers against the allegedly blasphemous procession is based on Article 525 of the Spanish Penal Code. Luis de Los Santos, counsel for the accused, expressed his amazement at the use of criminal law based on pre-democratic political interests by the Christian Bar Association. He claims the non-suit. According to him, the Spanish Penal Code is used to criminalize freedom of association and freedom of expression.

Freedom of expression is a fundamental right of individuals, protected by the main international human rights instruments, including Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If Willy Toledo or the three Andalusian women were to be sentenced, then Spanish justice may be infringing the right to freedom of expression.

Violated laws

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression, which implies the right not to be worried about one’s opinions and that of seeking, receiving and spreading, regardless of frontiers, information and ideas by any means of expression whatsoever.” (in English):

http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/

 

Section 2 of the Spanish Penal Code (Articles 522, 523, 524, 525). Offenses against freedom of conscience, religious feelings and respect for the dead.(in Spanish):

 

https://www.boe.es/legislacion/codigos/codigo.php?id=38&modo=1&nota=0&tab=2

Documents

Dossiers sur les droits de l’homme, no 18 La liberté d’expression en Europe

Jurisprudence relative à l’article 10 de la Convention européenne des Droits de l’Homme (in French):

https://www.echr.coe.int/LibraryDocs/DG2/HRFILES/DG2-FR-HRFILES-18(2006).pdf

Campaign to abolish all blasphemy laws worldwide –Spain (in English):

https://end-blasphemy-laws.org/countries/europe/spain/

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