Man who burned king's picture freed

21st September 2007, Comments 0 comments

21 September 2007, MADRID (dpa) - Spain's National Court decided Friday not to impose any restrictions on the freedom of a young man who admitted to burning a picture of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia during a demonstration a week earlier.

21 September 2007

MADRID (dpa) - Spain's National Court decided Friday not to impose any restrictions on the freedom of a young man who admitted to burning a picture of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia during a demonstration a week earlier.

Judge Santiago Pedraz did not impose any bail conditions on Jaume Roura Carellas, rejecting a request by prosecutors for a bail of EUR 10,000, the young man's lawyer said.

Roura Carellas came to the court for a 10-minute hearing, admitting he had burned a picture of the royal couple at a demonstration of about 400 Catalan separatists during Juan Carlos' visit to the Catalan city of Gerona.

"The Bourbon out of Gerona" and "Catalans do not have a king," the protesters chanted while the monarch inaugurated a technology park belonging to a local university.

The judge justified his decision by saying that the suspected offence did not carry a serious penalty and that there was no risk of the suspect fleeing. Prosecutors must now decide whether to seek a trial.

Prosecutors had said demonstrators who burn pictures could be charged with libel against the crown, an offence which can be penalised with up to two years in prison.

Meanwhile on Friday, the Catalan separatist party ERC registered a proposal to eliminate the offences of insulting the crown or Spain from the legislation, describing them as undemocratic.

In the United States, it was legal to burn the national flag, an act which formed part of the freedom of expression, the party pointed out.

The issue of freedom of expression was also raised in July after police seized copies of a satirical magazine publishing a sexual caricature of Crown Prince Felipe.

Charges have been brought against the caricaturists for libel against the crown. The date of the trial was Friday set for November 13.

[Copyright dpa 2007]

Subject: Spanish news

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