Woman Jailed For Twitter Jokes

3 Min Read

Cassandra Vera, 22 years of age has been exonerated on Thursday by Spain’s Supreme Court.

She initially had a jail sentence for tweeting jokes about the 1973 assassination of a senior figure in the Franco dictatorship which had raised concerns over free speech.

The high court cancelled the one-year jail term handed down in March 2017 by Spain’s top criminal court, after finding her guilty of humiliating victims of terrorism.

It considered that the jokes she posted about “an attack that happened 44 years ago, without any offensive comment towards the victim, is socially and even morally reproachable in that it makes fun of a serious human tragedy, but a criminal sanction is not reasonable.”

Vera uploaded a total of 12 tweets between 2013 and 2015 about the assassination of Luis Carrero Blanco, the prime minister and heir apparent of dictator Francisco Franco who was killed in a car bomb attack in Madrid in December 1973 carried out by Basque separatist group ETA.

The explosion was so large that it sent the car, Carrero Blanco was travelling in, hurtling into the air and over the roof of a church where he had just been attending mass.

“ETA combined a policy against the use of official vehicles with a space programme,” read one of Vera’s posts. Another said: “Did Carrero Blanco also go back to the future with his car?”

Vera’s case has raised sentiments over freedom of expression in Spain.

Even the granddaughter of Carrero Blanco attacked the move by public prosecutors to charge and put her on trial, saying in a letter sent to daily El Pais in January 2017 that while the jokes were in poor taste they were not worthy of such legal action.

“I’m scared of a society in which freedom of expression, however regrettable it may be, can lead to jail sentences,” Lucia Carrero Blanco wrote.

Vera’s case is not the only one that has caused concern.

A popular Spanish rapper known as Valtonyc has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for a lyrics that the courts ruled glorified terrorism and insulted the Spanish crown.

Vera said she was relieved by the Supreme Court decision.

“Really happy at a personal level for the end of a judicial ordeal which no one should have to experience,” she tweeted.

“But very concerned over other sentences like that of Valtonyc and other rappers and Twitter users.”

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