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Sketch Comic Faces Accusations of ‘Glorifying’ Terrorism in Spain

Screenshot from YouTube.

Screenshot from YouTube.

Catalan-Uruguayan satirist Facu Díaz is being taken to court for questioning over a satirical sketch from his online TV comedy show, Tuerka News.

Entitled “The PP is Breaking up,” the sketch mockingly suggested that the ruling Spanish Popular Party (PP) was on the brink of collapse.

Spain's National High Court ordered Facu Díaz to appear in court on January 15, 2015. The satirist could face charges under a Spanish law that criminalizes the “glorification of terrorism” with a punishment of up to two years in prison. The summons was issued after the terror victims’ association Dignity & Justice filed a complaint about the sketch on November 8, 2014.

In an official statement published by La Tuerka online, Facu Díaz said he suspected that the case may have been prompted by his connection to Pablo Iglesias, spokesman and Secretary General of Spain's new alternative political party, Podemos, who is also a host of the La Tuerka show. Díaz stated that he did not intend to offend anyone, but apologised nevertheless. He explained further: “I think a satirist must take you to places where you've never been,” and added: “Is there any topic about which we shouldn't make jokes? No, there is nothing we shouldn't joke about, it all depends on what the joke is.”

La Tuerka's popularity has grown, as has that of Pablo Iglesias as a political figure. Though it is mostly broadcast online, it also can be watched on TDT through Tele K, an independent channel with a strong social and activist connection.

In the three-and-a-half-minute sketch, Facu Díaz covers his face with a black balaclava, in reference to traditional spokesmen put forth by the Basque Euskadi Ta Askatasuna separatist militant organization, commonly known as the ETA. Díaz announces the end of the Popular Party due to “all that has happened in the last 20 years,” referring to the many corruption cases of its members. The video includes statements like “we have decided to stop our armed activity and hand over our weapons,” and the demand to move the PP corruption prisoners to places “like Andorra or other places with good food,” alluding to ETA's demands of transferring their members to prisons in the Basque Country. The fake PP's spokesman also asks for “a ceasefire from far left-wing political groups,” in a clear reference to Podemos.

The sketch does not make any reference to individuals who have been killed by the ETA. However, the terror victims’ association that filed the complaint argues that it “clearly constituted humiliation, harassment, contempt, detriment and ridicule of terror victims and their families.”

It is ironic that Facu Díaz received the news just one day after the attack on French satiric magazine Charlie Hebdo, while Spanish President Mariano Rajoy was showing his “support of freedom of expression” on behalf of the Spanish government and people. On Twitter, the hashtag #YoConFacu (I’m With Facu) is being used to show support for the satirist and defend freedom of expression. Díaz has stated that he will continue to make satire in the future.

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