Amnesty International concerned by Spain’s proposal of public order crime redifinition

The human rights entity praises the requested elimination of the crime of sedition

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24.11.2022 - 13:17

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Amnesty International has issued a statement criticizing some aspects of the reform of the Spanish penal code agreed between the Spanish government and ERC. While Amnesty considers the removal of the crime of sedition to be good news, the redefinition of the crime of public order may not guarantee the right of social movements to protest.

The entity considers that the new text introduces assumptions that do not involve effective violence, such as the interruption of traffic. They also criticize the introduction of an aggravated modality of public disorder that does not sanction situations of alteration of public order, but the simple possibility of endangering it. Specifically, the text refers to acts carried out by a crowd whose number, organization and purpose are suitable for seriously affecting public order. According to Amnesty, this definition “contains elements of ambiguity that must be corrected”.

On the other hand, Amnesty recalls that Spain’s penal code reform in 2015 established a new criminal type, the invasion and occupation of legal entities’ headquarters. Regarding this matter, Amnesty regrets that the current reform proposal does not just maintain this crime, but expressly sanctions these acts even if  they are carried out without violence or intimidation. The penalization of non-violent acts remains as long as there is “a relevant disturbance of the normal activity of the entity”, a concept Amnesty considers ambiguous.

Among the positive aspects, Amnesty International mentions the elimination of the crime of sedition, as requested following the 2019 Spanish Supreme Court ruling against Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart.

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