Published on 19 November 2020 in Blasphemy news

Spain: acquittal of Willy Toledo upheld

The End Blasphemy Laws Coalition welcomes the news that the Provincial Court of Madrid has upheld the acquittal of Willy Toledo on charges of blasphemy and obstruction of justice.

Willy Toledo, a Spanish actor, faced charges of hurting religious sentiments after he wrote a Facebook post in July 2017 expressing his indignation after three women were charged with “offense against religious feelings” after they paraded a large model of vagina through the streets of Seville during what was called the Procession of the insubordinate pussy. The Facebook post read:

“I shit on God and have enough shit left over to shit on the dogma of the saintliness and virginity of the Virgin Mary. This country is unbearably shameful. I’m disgusted. Go fuck yourselves. Long live the Insubordinate Pussy.”

The Spanish Association of Christian Lawyers filed a complaint against Toledo and, in May 2018, instead of appearing at court, the actor called a press conference where he stated that he had not committed any crime and therefore would not appear before a judge. In September 2018, the Court of Madrid issued an arrest warrant against Toledo after he twice failed to appear and testify in court.

Toledo was acquitted of charges of obstruction of justice and hurting religious sentiments in February 2020, when a judge of the 26th Criminal Court of Madrid observed that his post evidenced a “lack of education, bad taste and foul language” used by the actor, but did not constitute a crime against religious feelings. On 5 November 2020, the Provincial Court of Madrid upheld the February ruling.

Article 525 of the Spanish Penal Code acts as a de facto ‘blasphemy’ law, punishing offenders with a fine of up to 12 months of their salary, and is sometimes enforced. There have been a number of prosecutions under this law in the last several years. Most of these cases have been brought by the Spanish Association of Christian Lawyers and by a Catholic legal association, the Tomás Moro Legal Center.

The End Blasphemy Laws Coalition welcomes the decision of the Spanish courts to uphold the acquittal of Toledo and urges the authorities to repeal Article 525 of the Penal Code.