Some 34 MEPs, from a number of countries, have signed a written question to the European Commission denouncing that freedom of expression in Spain is "under threat". Among the cases they mention are the sentence of three and a half years in prison for the rapper José Miguel Arenas Beltrán, who performs as 'Valtonyc', the censorship of an artwork entitled Political prisoners in contemporary Spain at the Arco art fair in Madrid and a judge in Madrid halting distribution of a book on drug-trafficking in Galicia, Fariña.
The MEPs express their worries over these events, which they believe to violate freedom of expression.
Having cited the context, they ask "Does the Commission consider that the Spanish Law 4/2015 and the Spanish Criminal Code is fully aligned with articles 11 and 12 as enshrined in the Fundamental Rights Charter of the European Union?" Spanish Law 4/2015, the Law for the Protection of Public Safety, popularly known as the Ley Mordaza ("gag law"), has been widely accused of restricting rights to assembly and freedom of expression. The cited articles of the Charter of Fundamental Rights are on the "Freedom of expression and information" (11) and "Freedom of assembly and of association" (12).
The MEPs also note that the European Court of Human Rights "has ruled against article 490 of the Spanish Criminal Code, which provide protection to certain institutions against public offense", decreeing that it didn't fit with article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. They note, however, that the legislation has not been changed and provided the "legal base for those recent rulings".
Behind the initiative were Josep-Maria Terricabras and Jordi Solé (ERC), with the support of fellow Catalan MEP Ramon Tremosa (PDECat) and Ernest Urtasun (ICV) and some thirty other MEPs, from GUE/NGL, Greens/EFA, ALDE and ECR.