Gagged: Woman fined for photo of police car
Jessica Jones · 17 Aug 2015, 09:47
Published: 17 Aug 2015 09:47 GMT+02:00
- First gag law fine for 'lazy police' social media post (29 Jul 15)
- Majority of Spaniards oppose new "gag law" (06 Jul 15)
- The ten most repressive points of Spain's gag law (01 Jul 15)
- Spain's 'gag law' brought into force amid protests (01 Jul 15)
The unnamed woman, from Petrer in Alicante, south-east Spain, uploaded a photograph to Facebook and was visited less than 48 hours later by local police who hit her with an €800 ($885) fine under Spain’s controversial new citizen security law.
The woman uploaded the image of the police car parked in a disabled parking bay to Facebook accompanied by the comment:
"Park wherever the hell you like and they won’t even fine you."
The Citizens Security Law, which came into force on July 1st, forbids "the unauthorized use of images of police officers that might jeopardize their or their family’s safety or that of protected facilities or police operations".
The controversial law has been dubbed the 'gag law' by critics and has come under fire from protesters in Spain, as well as human rights associations such as Amnesty International who argue it limits free speech.
The woman deleted the photograph the day after it was published, but 24 hours online was enough for her to receive the €600 fine.
A spokesman for the local police, Fernando Portillo, explained to local newspaper Petrer al Día that the officers had parked in the disabled bay because they were responding to a report of vandalism in a nearby park, something which needed an "urgent response".
Police officers were allowed to park wherever they could in an emergency, he added.
Critics have argued that the woman took a photograph of a police vehicle and not police officers, so could not have put them in danger.
According to Portillo the woman was fined because officers felt that their "honour had been attacked".
He said the incident had been referred the local town hall.
"We would have preferred a different solution but they have the legal right to impose the fine," Portillo said.
In July a man from Tenerife was fined for calling local police “slackers” on Facebook.