Soldier-to-be snubbed over ‘tiny’ tattoo

A Spanish woman has been turned down by the country's military because she has a 4cm by 2cm tattoo just above her wrist.

Soldier-to-be snubbed over 'tiny' tattoo
Spanish King Juan Carlos salutes the Royal Guard during the Spanish National day military parade on October 12, 2012. Photo: Dominique Faget/AFP

The highly-qualified aspirant, identified only as J.C by Spanish press, was rejected because of new military rules introduced in June.

The 25-year-old has completed higher studies, can lay claim to a driving licence and holds an English language certificate.

She should be an ideal candidate for service in the country's armed forces but has fallen foul of the military's new tattoo code.

The rules forbid any tattoos which "contain expressions of images contrary to constitutional values, and military virtues," said Spanish national daily El País on Friday.

Tattoos which" dishonour the uniform, could compromise disciple or the image of the armed forces, are obscene, or could incite discrimination," are also banned said the daily.

In the case of J.C, who comes from the town of Getafe just south of Madrid, this shouldn't have been a problem.

Her tattoo is a 4cm by 2cm image of a reversed capital 'E' crossed by a diagonal line.

Unfortunately, the new rules also forbid tattoos which "could be visible while wearing any of the various army uniforms."

The tattoo of J.C is on her left arm just above the wrist, and as such could be visible when she is wearing a short-sleeved summer uniform, the Ministry of Defence told the aspiring soldier.

J.C went to a clinic to find out about having her tattoo removed, but this would have cost €1,200 and taken five weeks.

That was too expensive and too late, said El País.

Many Spanish soldiers have tattoos but the new rules are not retroactive.

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Spain drops probe into ex-military WhatsApp ‘kill squad’

Spanish prosecutors have dropped an investigation into messages posted in a WhatsApp group of retired military officers that denounced Spain's left-wing government and discussed shooting political adversaries.

Spain drops probe into ex-military WhatsApp 'kill squad'

The group was made up of high-ranking retired members of the air force with some of the messages leaked in December to the Infolibre news website, sparking public outrage.

The messages focused on the government of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, whose Socialists rule alongside the hard-left Podemos in Spain’s first coalition government since the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

“I don’t want these scoundrels to lose the elections. No. I want them and all of their offspring to die,” wrote one.

“For them to die, they must be shot and 26 million bullets are needed,” wrote another, referring to the number of people who cast their ballots in favour.

Prosecutors opened their investigation in mid-December after finding the statements were “totally contrary to the constitutional order with veiled references to a military coup”.

But they dropped the probe after concluding the content of the chat did not constitute a hate crime by virtue of the fact it was a private communication.

“Its members ‘freely’ expressed their opinions to the others ‘being confident they were among friends’ without the desire to share the views elsewhere,” the Madrid prosecutors office said.

The remarks constituted “harsh” criticism that fell “within the framework of freedom of expression and opinion,” it said.

The decision is likely to inflame protests that erupted in mid-February over the jailing of a Spanish rapper for tweets found to be glorifying terrorism, a case that has raised concerns over freedom of speech in Spain.

According to Infolibre, some of the chat group also signed a letter by more than 70 former officers blaming the Sanchez government for the “breakdown of national unity” that was sent to Spain’s King Felipe VI in November.

Such remarks echo criticism voiced by Spain’s rightwing and far-right opposition that has denounced the government for courting separatist parties in order to push legislation through parliament where it only holds a minority.