Despite the fact that the honour is usually reserved for human recipients, policemen who have been wounded or killed in the pursuit of their duties, Jorge Fernandez Diaz, the Spanish Interior Minister, last week took it upon himself to award the country's top policing medal, the gold medal of police merit, to an icon of the Virgin Mary, in Malaga.
The outcome is that the Spanish Press have now dubbed the ministry ‘The Monastery of the Interior' and if you would care to call up the website www.change.org you will find a petition requesting a similar award for Spiderman.
But this is not the only eccentric news item to appear in the Spanish media in recent days. We also had the headline surrounding the proposed Citizens' Security Law, which prescribes fines of up to 600,000 euros for unauthorised street protests - and up to 1,000 euros for anyone losing their identity document more than three times in five years.
But despite her decoration, it would seem that the Virgin Mary has done a less than stellar job of policing Twitter in recent weeks - following the necessity of the anti-terror intervention by the Guardia Civil, a social media sweep that has incidentally been christened "Operation Spider".
It would seem that the police have detained 21 social media users for allegedly "glorifying terrorism" on Twitter and Facebook. Fifteen of them were arrested in northern Spain, the regions of Navarre and the Basque Country, two of whom were minors.
Among the alleged glorifications of terrorism, apparently, was a tweeted map of the Basque Country, adorned with the Basque word for independence, a crime for which, if convicted, the tweeters and Facebookers will face up to two years in prison.
One of the Facebook posts complained that, two years ago, in the austerity stricken country, when banks prompted a surge in suicides, as they oversaw the eviction of over 500 families a day from their properties, the government took little or no action against the bankers, rather they protected and defended them.
So when did drawing attention to state hypocrisy become a crime?
This will mean that the two years of incarceration potentially facing tweeters is a full two years more than the amount of prison time faced by, for example, those torture-happy policemen who still openly wander the nation's streets thanks to a post-Franco amnesty law, which took away any hopes of justice for the many victims of Francoist crimes.Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/43604/
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