A young woman from Spain may spend a year behind bars after a judge found her social media presence too offensive to let her roam free. 21-year-old Cassandra Vera was found guilty of glorifying terrorism and humiliating victims of terrorism for allegedly making light of a political assassination that took place decades ago.
At the heart of the controversy were a series of 13 tweets that Vera posted between 2013 and 2016 about the slaying of Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, a close associate of dictator Francisco Franco whose death at the hands of the separatist ETA group was credited for putting Spain on a path toward democratic rule.
Carrero Blanco was killed by a car bomb near the San Francisco de Borja church in Madrid, where he had just attended mass, and the resultant explosion propelled the car up and over the holy site.
“ETA combined a policy against the use of official vehicles with a space program,” Vera quipped in one of the offending tweets, while another wondered: “Did Carrero Blanco also go back to the future with his car?”
Vera’s outlandish punishment has outraged many across Spain, with politicians expressing concern about the potential consequences for freedom of expression in the country. She even earned the support of Carrero Blanco’s granddaughter, who penned an open letter chastising the prosecutors in the case.
“I’m scared of a society in which freedom of expression, however regrettable it may be, can lead to jail sentences,” Lucia Carrero Blanco wrote in January.
Despite her one-year sentence, Vera is unlikely to actually to wind up in jail because of a Spanish law that spares people convicted of non-violent crimes with a sentence of under two years from getting locked up.