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HomeLatest NewsAcquitted of hate crime charges against individuals accused of insulting and harassing...

Acquitted of hate crime charges against individuals accused of insulting and harassing an independent person via WhatsApp.

A Barcelona court has sentenced two men to pay 450 euros for the offense of minor threats against Marta Torrecillas, a woman whose fingers were injured by a national police officer at a school in Barcelona during the 2017 1-O referendum, although he acquitted them. the hate crime of which they were accused, given that the young independent person does not belong to the minority groups that are the object of protection in connection with this crime. Two other defendants were acquitted.

A case heard in a Barcelona court put four men in the dock for including Torrecillas without her permission in a Whatsapp group called “Arriba España hija puta” where they insulted, ridiculed and threatened her for her ideology and for being that she is a woman calling her “bitch”, “whore” or with messages like “look at your ID, pig”, “they won’t even touch you with a stick, pig”, “burn your apartment”, “how are you little fingers? And boobs.” When the woman reported the messages on October 4, 2017, she received over 7,800 messages and 300 calls.

Of the four defendants, one sent her an SMS, while the other three were members of a Whatsapp group that she was included in. According to the Agència Catalana de Notícies (ACN), in its verdict, the Court notes that the four defendants’ expressions, in addition to being critical, “do not constitute an attack on society or, in particular, on minority groups to be protected by means of a hate crime.” , but rather these are attacks directed individually at Torrecillas.

The Chamber also stresses that the victim’s perception of seriousness, which it considers “legitimate”, was no doubt heightened by aspects unrelated to the defendant’s behaviour, such as receiving hundreds of calls and messages from third parties. With regard to the specific expressions of the four defendants, the court emphasizes that “besides the fact that they deserve a complete rejection precisely because of their offensive and derogatory nature, the truth is that they do not have the seriousness that is also required for the simultaneous commission of a crime on grounds of hatred. .”.

Regarding the crime of threats, out of the three members of the WhatsApp group, one was an administrator and was the one who introduced Torrecillas in the chat, but after seeing the written expressions, decided to exclude her from the group. His comments had a “tone of derision,” the verdict notes. That is why he was acquitted of all crimes.

The other two chat participants, on the other hand, were convicted of minor threats, as they wrote messages that were not only offensive in order to “despise and humiliate her”, but also aimed to scare her and had an “intimidating attitude”. . Some of them referred to her premises, which indicated that they had obtained her address and that it was possible to find her, “thereby increasing the feeling of anxiety or fear that she may harbor,” the verdict emphasizes.

Headed by lawyer Lucas Arias, the defense of the group’s administrator, who was acquitted of all crimes, celebrated the verdict and considered that justice had been done, “without going into an assessment of external subjective or ideological elements.”

A private prosecution charged the three chat participants with a hate crime and another with aggravated threats of discrimination on ideological and gender grounds, which required a sentence of one and a half years in prison for the first year and one year and three months. for the second, in addition to a fine and non-pecuniary damages in the amount of 3,000 euros. For the fourth defendant who sent the SMS, the same fines were requested for the same crimes, with a compensation of 1,000 euros.

For its part, the recreational prosecutor considered that, in the case of the first three defendants, they were guilty of a hate crime, for which they sought a sentence of one year and nine months, a fine and compensation of 2,000 euros. The fourth defendant charged him with the petty crime of threatening and demanded a fine of 300 euros.


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