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CRIME

First prison sentence for posting fake news handed out in Spain

A Barcelona court on Tuesday sentenced a policeman to 15 months in jail for posting a video on Twitter falsely claiming it showed an underage migrant trying to rape a woman in Spain.

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The civil guard is not expected to serve time in jail since in Spain prison terms of under two years are usually suspended if the person does not have a criminal record. (Stock Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)

The civil guard in 2019 posted a 45-second video showing a man viciously punching and kicking a woman unconscious and then trying to remove her clothes.

While the incident took place in China, he wrote it showed the rape of a woman in the coastal town of Canet de Mar at the hands of a minor who arrived in Spain without his parents.

He also claimed in the post, which was seen nearly 22,000 times, that mainstream media was covering up the rape.

Public prosecutors said the man had published several other racist and xenophobic messages on social media.

They had been seeking a two-year jail term but just before his trial, the policeman admitted the crime and accepted a shorter sentence in exchange, the court in Barcelona said.

The policeman was also served a fine of €1,620 ($1,619) in one of the first ever sentences in Spain for spreading disinformation.

He is not expected to serve time in jail since in Spain prison terms of under two years are usually suspended if the person does not have a criminal record.

Spain’s Civil Guard has launched a disciplinary procedure against the agent, according to internal sources in the police force.

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CRIME

Spanish police seize 4.5 tonnes of cocaine off Canaries

Spanish police announced on Saturday the seizure of 4.5 tonnes of cocaine aboard a Togolese-flagged cargo ship from Latin America which was intercepted off the Canary Islands.

Spanish police seize 4.5 tonnes of cocaine off Canaries

The “Orion V”, which transported cattle from Latin America to the Middle East, had been under surveillance for over two years and had previously been “checked and searched, but no drugs could be found inside, despite the presence of sufficient clues”, police said.

A joint naval and air operation finally made the breakthrough locating the cocaine on Tuesday, hidden in a container used to feed the cattle.

The operation mobilised among others the American Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre for narcotics (MAOC-N), the Togolese authorities and the Spanish police.

The 28 crew members from nine countries were arrested.

The “Orion V” was similar to another Togolese-flagged vessel, the “Blume”, which was intercepted in mid-January in the same area south-east of the Canary Islands, on which the same amount of cocaine was found.

A total of nine tonnes of drugs have been seized in January, police said in a statement.

Spain’s proximity to North Africa, a key source of hashish, and its close ties with former colonies in Latin America, the world’s main cocaine-producing region, have made it a gateway into Europe for drugs.

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