Five people have been sentenced to a year in prison having been found guilty by a Palma court of a crime against religious freedom.
The trial resulted from an incident in February 2014 when pro-abortion campaigners disrupted Sunday mass at the Sant Miquel church in Palma. Some thirty people entered the church, chanted and waved a banner. This was said to have caused anxiety and fear among the worshippers, although there were no acts of aggression directed at individuals.
The court decided that the defendants knew they were violating the freedom to celebrate mass and so therefore violated religious freedom. More than this, they wanted to violate this religious freedom. Their own freedom of expression, the court concluded, did not extend to a denial of the religious freedom of others.
The prosecution had called for eighteen months' sentences. A separate prosecution by the bishopric of Majorca had wanted four years. This was subsequently reduced in line with the prosecution's demand.
The defence lawyer, Josep Luis, described the decision as a "bitter victory" given that four years had originally been called for. He was also critical of the police for "inventing more than they investigated", a reference to the fact that one of the six on trial was acquitted.
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