The Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal filed by the leader of United Podemos and Minister of Equality Irene Montero against the decision of the Provincial Court of Madrid not to consider his honor violated by a satirical poem published in the magazine of the Francisco de Vitoria judicial association.

In a sentence in which a woman, Magistrate María Ángeles Parra, has been the speaker, the high court confirms the criteria of the Court that considered that poem protected by freedom of expression, in which the rise of Montero in politics was linked to the personal relationship he maintains with the founder of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias.

While justifying the freedom of expression of Willy Toledo to “shit on God” and the songs of rapper Pablo Hasel extolling terrorism, Montero took the poem published in the internal magazine of the judicial association to court for violating his right to honor, with a circulation of 6,000 copies and directed to its affiliates and legal operators.

The poem, titled From nuns to deputies, was published under the pseudonym El Guardabosques de Valsaín, and stated that “They say that in Spain a king / with inconstant appetites / whose whim was law / sent his lovers / to make a gray convent / Today times have changed / and the beloved helmsman / as soon as he has left them / they don’t go to a cruel convent / but to a high seat / Deputy Montero / former partner of the ‘Coleta’ / is no longer in the limelight / because of a restless fly / She goes with Tania to the chicken coop ”.

Politics considered the poem to constitute “an intolerable sexist mockery” by “reducing” it to the condition of couple of “by the fact of being a woman, showing that the public position she holds depends on the sexual desires of a man.”

Public relevance

“For the purposes of the limits that can be imposed on freedom of expression in a democratic society, what is relevant in the disputed text as regards the plaintiff is her personal relationship with the party’s secretary general. The question of appointments in political parties is of general interest, even if it is annoying to the plaintiff, and the disputed text expresses an opinion, it is not reporting facts, “says the Supreme Court ruling.

For the Civil Chamber, the main idea of ​​the poem – the political designations of people romantically related to the general secretary of a party – “has public relevance and general interest.”

The court agrees with the criterion of the prosecutor – who requested the inadmissibility of the appeal – in the sense that, examining the poem as a whole, “the author intends to sarcastically criticize the correlation that, in his opinion, exists between those who maintain personal relationships with the secretary general of the political party to which Irene Montero belongs and the treatment and position they occupy in the party. “

“The fact that the plaintiff is a partner of the secretary general of the party to which they both belong may, logically, be the object of criticism”, he points out. The question is “whether there is a sufficient factual basis for the contested statements or whether, on the contrary, it is a matter of harassing the applicant free of charge, regardless of the critical idea that is to be communicated”.

The Chamber responds that, certainly, the poem “dispenses with the fact that the applicant has been democratically elected in an election, suggests that her only merits consist in being a partner of the secretary general of her party, and does so in addition in a nasty and rude way“.

“However,” he adds, “it cannot be understood that the main idea that is communicated through satire – even if it was uncertain and unfortunate – is totally illogical or absurd and alien to any objective data that serves as a basis. The author from the letter, he seems to deduce it from the current and past situation of the former partner of the party’s general secretary (who has not been a plaintiff) and speculates on the future situation of the plaintiff.

For the court, the fact that a professional journal of judges was the medium of
dissemination of the text “does not necessarily reverse the functional prevalence of freedom of expression over the right to honor.”

He argues, in this regard, that texts by the same anonymous author with the same mocking and satirical character were regularly disseminated in the magazine, which includes publications that are not strictly legal.

The judgment of the Civil Chamber -that has imposed the payment of the costs to Montero– puts an end to the lawsuit in the ordinary jurisdiction. The minister may appeal to the Constitutional Court for protection.

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