Europe

Spain convicts woman for tweeting jokes about Eta bomb victim

Cassandra Vera Image copyright Cassandra Vera
Image caption Cassandra Vera wrote the tweets over a three-year period

A Spanish student who wrote 13 tweets about the assassination of a prime minister by Basque militants in 1973 has been given a one-year jail term.

Cassandra Vera, 21, was found guilty of "contempt, dishonour, discredit, mockery and affront" to the victims of terrorism and their families.

Some tweets were four years old and she said she had not meant to cause harm.

Vera is unlikely to go to jail but said the conviction had ruined her chances of becoming a teacher.

Prime Minister Adm Luis Carrero Blanco was murdered by Eta separatists as Gen Francisco Franco's dictatorship neared an end.

Earlier this year, the late prime minister's granddaughter said she feared for a society in which "freedom of expression, however lamentable it may be, can prompt jail sentences".

Lucía Carrero Blanco wrote to El País newspaper saying that the tweets were repugnant but that a prison term was frightening and disproportionate.

'Victims deserve respect'

The tweets were written between 2013 and 2016 and some poked fun at the force of the remote-controlled bomb that sent Adm Luis Carrero Blanco's car so far into the air that it cleared the roof of a church.

"Eta combined a policy against the use of official vehicles with a space programme," read one of her tweets in 2013.

"Did Carrero Blanco also go back to the future with his car?" ran another in 2015.

In another tweet, she said that if the IRA had killed late UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, it would have been an "Irish Carrero Blanco".

The National Court in Madrid said even though the events took place a long time ago, the scars of the attack remained and the victims deserved respect.

Several politicians criticised the verdict, particularly on the left.

The mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, said the verdict had violated basic rights and freedoms and Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias said Spain's criminal law was not up to the standards of a democratic country.


The assassination of Adm Luis Carrero Blanco

  • The 70-year-old, his bodyguard and a driver were killed instantly by a massive explosion that sent their car hurtling into the air
  • Their vehicle went over the roof of the San Francisco de Borga Church where Mr Blanco had just been attending mass
  • Basque nationalists were blamed for the murder in retaliation for the execution of Basque militants in Spain
  • Luis Carrero Blanco had only been prime minister for about six months
  • In June 1973 Gen Franco had separated the duties of chief of state and head of government and Mr Blanco became prime minister

BBC On This Day: 20 December 1973

Image copyright Keystone
Image caption The murder came minutes before 10 leading opponents of the Franco regime went on trial

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