Muzzle Law

EAJ and PSOE's attempts at reform "to leave the law as it is"

  • We will examine EAJ and PSOE's proposals for reforming the Citizen's Security Law – the Muzzle Law – in the following lines. As well as the the initiative against it taken by the Eleak-Libre organization.

Xabier Letona @xletona
2017ko martxoaren 21a

The Spanish No Somos Delito ('We are not a Crime') association has analysed EAJ (Basque Nationalist Party) and PSOE's (Spanish Socialist Workers' Party proposal: "It is an attempt to change the law, but it does not actually alter anything substantial, avoiding any real discussion of citizens' security".

They believe that PSOE's proposal combines the worst of the Muzzle Law and Corcuera's Law (1992), using imprecise, general legal concepts and leaving citizens unprotected. With regard to EAJ, according to the platform, they talk about the right to strike and foreigners' rights in the introduction, but do nothing to develop those points in the articles.

"EAJ's perspective on citizens' rights is very worrying: it puts protecting basic rights and property on the same level. According to their text, public areas are 'for the public's use and pleasure', and not areas for enjoying rights. PSOE and PP (People's Party) have the same point of view, and confuse citizens' rights with keeping public order." In their proposals, they keep one of the main points of the Muzzle Law: what the police says counts as proof. In practice, this means that the right to defence is lost.

With regard to the right to demonstrate and hold meetings, PSOE's proposals are still very limiting. EAJ's texts opens the door to spontaneous, non-permitted meetings, but only in situations of emergency. In addition to that, "EAJ keeps the idea of expelling migrants in the heat of the moment, straight away, and that means criminalising poverty."

There are also some improvements, "but not many". In several cases, PSOE reduces fines. The best changes come from EAJ, which suggests removing fines from many cases, for instance for taking unpermitted photographs of security forces, meeting in front of the Parliament or the Senate, and obstructing streets.

Eleak-Libre opposes the Muzzle Law

Although the Basque Parliament committed itself to not applying the Muzzle Law on June 22nd, 2016, the Basque Autonomous Police used it 8,087 times in 2015, and 2,857 times 2016 until the end of July. Estefania Beltran de Heredia, the Basque Government's Security minister, said that they would continue to apply the law.

The Parliament of Navarre is going to request data about the use of the law and stop applying it. The Basque Autonomous Community Parliament was asked to take three measures: firstly, confirming its opposition to the Muzzle Law; secondly, publicly protesting against any use of the law, and protecting anybody punished under its terms; thirdly, confirming that it will not apply it.

What can you do if you are punished under the terms of the Muzzle Law? Eleak-Libre's telephone number will be provided, along with those of the lawyers working locally with each association, and their e-mail: mozalikez@riseup.net. If somebody punished decided to protest or disobey, the association will provide advice. The association is going to publish a guidebook about citizens' rights. The "Record the Police" movement has also been set up – the first three videos are already on the Internet – along with Ahotsa, Topatu, Hala Bideo and ARGIA. Finally, the association wants to put together a database about all police initiatives which violate civil and political rights.

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