Politics 30/04/2021

Judge files complaint against Vox's xenophobic poster because she considers it "their form of expression"

She does not consider that it constitutes a hate crime, as the Public Prosecutor's Office and the PSOE had suggested

2 min
Xenophobic election poster of Vox at Sol station in Madrid.
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MadridVox will be able to maintain in its electoral campaign the xenophobic poster that was hung two weeks ago in the Sol train and metro station, in the heart of Madrid, because it is part of the "form of expression" of the Spanish far-right party's immigration policies. This is at least the opinion of a judge in Madrid, who has dismissed both the complaint filed by the Public Prosecutor's Office and that of the PSOE for an alleged hate crime for the poster that criminalised an immigrant teenager who was identified as a member of the group of unaccompanied foreign minors.

In an order to which Efe has had access, the Madrid judge of instruction number 53 decrees the archiving of the cause because she considers Vox has exercised its right to freedom of expression in the framework of the campaign for the 4 May elections. The electoral poster shows on one side an old woman and on the other a young man, masked and hooded, and reads: "A mena (an unaccompanied minor), 4,700 euros a month, your grandmother 426 euros pension / month", followed by the slogan "Protect Madrid, vote safe".

Not applying the Penal Code in the campaign

Despite the intensity of the message, which for the Public Prosecutor's Office "dehumanises" immigrant children, since they are especially vulnerable because they have no family in the State, the magistrate points out that "the intensity necessary to generate a risk to unaccompanied minors or other groups, a requirement that jurisprudence demands for a hate crime to exist, is not appreciated". In addition, she points out that the PSOE not only highlights this poster, but also other Vox messages on social networks against immigrants in general, Muslims who justify violence against women and homosexuals, as well as squatters. But according to the judge, it is necessary to take into account the electoral "context" in which the acts took place, which she considers "fundamental as a social reality of the time in which the Penal Code has to be applied".

"The facts denounced constitute the development, the form of expression in the election campaign, of Vox's immigration policy, as well as the policy on the crime of usurpation and other issues", adds the judge in this regard. And she points out: "Vox, as a political party standing in the elections, proposes a programme that includes a specific policy on immigration, and in electoral terms, with the slogan "Protect Madrid", it publishes posters and disseminates messages relating to migrant minors welcomed in Spain, people who are clearly vulnerable". But according to the magistrate, "the direct language used in the messages, with great repercussion in the media in the context of the election campaign, has not created a situation of danger and does not have the aptitude to generate a risk that justifies the use of violence".

Finally, the magistrate considers that it is not her task to analyse whether the expenses that appear on the poster are real - they are not, as we explained here - because she believes that it is an issue that "is not relevant for the purposes of determining the possible commission of the criminal offences denounced".

The Prosecutor's Office took the poster to court after receiving complaints not only from political parties such as Más Madrid and later from the Spanish government, but also from a wide range of human rights associations and NGOs such as the Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid, the Xarxa Acull, the Cepaim Foundation for Integral Action with Migrants and Moviment per la Pau, among others.

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