Castells v. Spain

4 EHRR 445 (1992)

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Castells v. Spain

European Court of Human Rights
4 EHRR 445 (1992)

KS

Facts

Miguel Castells (plaintiff) was a senator and part of the Herri Batasuna coalition, a political group supporting Basque independence. In 1979, Castells published an article critical of the Spanish government. Criminal proceedings were brought against Castells for insulting the government in his article. The Spanish criminal code prohibited individuals from seriously insulting, falsely accusing, or threatening the government. A violation could be punished by a long-term prison sentence. During the criminal proceedings, Castells and his attorney attempted to present evidence demonstrating the truth of Castell’s article. The court refused to admit Castell’s evidence. Castell appealed the trial court’s refusal to consider his evidence to the constitutional court, and his appeal was dismissed as the criminal case was ongoing. The trial court found Castells guilty of proffering insults of a less serious kind against the government and sentenced him to imprisonment for one year and one day. Castells informed the court that he would appeal the judgment, and his imprisonment was stayed. Castells appealed to the constitutional court, and his appeal was dismissed. Subsequently, Castells made an application with the European Commission of Human Rights (the commission) against Spain (defendant), arguing that his conviction under Spain’s criminal laws violated his right to free expression protected by Article 10 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (the convention). The application was sent to the European Court of Human Rights.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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