Judge issues arrest warrant against Spanish actor

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Madrid, Sep 4 (IANS) A judge in Madrid issued an arrest warrant on Tuesday against a left-wing Spanish actor failing to appear before the court twice to testify in a lawsuit brought against him by a group of Christian lawyers who accuse him of offending their religious sensibilities.

The Spanish Association of Christian Lawyers (AEAC) had filed a complaint against the 48-year-old thespian, Guillermo “Willy” Toledo, who had published a post on his Facebook account in July 2017 that included offending expressions on God and the Virgin Mary, reports Efe.

On April 18, the day he was first supposed to testify in court, although he refused to do so, Toledo told Efe that it was “outrageous” that an “ultra-fundamentalist Catholic group” could sue a person for blasphemy, “just like in the Middle Ages”.

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AEAC President Polonia Castellanos said in a statement that “we are all equal before the law” and therefore Toledo “has the obligation of appearing before the court if a judge summons him, even though he believes he has special privileges due to his social position”.

The judge has now ordered that Toledo testify on September 13.

Spain’s 1978 Constitution defines the Mediterranean country as “non-religious,” which is legally distinct from the secularism of France, for example.

Article 525 of the Spanish Criminal Code still lays out the crime of insulting religious sentiments, including by deriding or ridiculing people’s beliefs, rites and ceremonies.

–IANS

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