The Valley of the Fallen. / Matej Kastelic/Shutterstock.
Denver Newsroom, Jul 6, 2022 / 16:00 pm (CNA).
The Vox political party in Spain has filed a complaint against a journalist who encouraged blowing up the basilica and abbey located on the grounds of the Valley of the Fallen memorial complex northwest of Madrid. The complex is the site of the largest cross in the world.
Spanish journalist Héctor de Miguel from Cadena SER, a PRISA Group radio station, was cited in a legal complaint for a hate crime and for offending religious sentiments, covered in Articles 524–526 of the country’s penal code, because during a radio program he encouraged blowing up the abbey in the Valley of the Fallen with dynamite.
“The Valley of the Fallen is an (obscenity),” the journalist said during his rant before he proposed: “Why don’t we go in there with dynamite and blow it all up? If it could be on a Sunday, so much the better.”
The deputy secretary of legal action for Vox, Marta Castro, said that regardless of his political intentions, the journalist’s statements “attack and harm the religious sentiments of many citizens.”
The complaint was also filed against the director of the Hora 25 program, Aimar Bretos, and the director general of Cadena SER, Ignacio Soto Pérez. Castro pointed out that as stated in Article 28 of the penal code, those in charge of the media outlet must answer for their actions, as they are considered cooperators in the offense.
The Vox party also noted the “violent” intention that underlies the particular words the journalist used — “to blow up” with dynamite.
Vox highlighted the fact that the journalist said that the right time to blow up the abbey would be on a Sunday — the day when many faithful attend Mass at the basilica — “without caring about the lives of the citizens going to the church” to practice their religious faith.
The Spanish Association of Christian Lawyers announced it has also taken legal action against Héctor de Miguel — not only for a hate crime and for offending religious sentiments but also for harassment.
The association stated in its complaint that the radio host accused it “of violent blackmail for running a petition drive calling for shutting down the program.”
The association also charged that the radio host compared it “to a terrorist or paramilitary gang” when he demanded on air “the dissolution and immediate surrender of weapons, as well as asking the victims for forgiveness.”
The journalist’s tirade led to more than 800 phone calls in three days to the association’s offices, which “has affected the daily functioning of the organization,” the attorneys charged.
The Valley of the Fallen is a monumental complex near Madrid which includes an abbey and basilica, the construction of which Francisco Franco ordered to honor the fallen of both sides during the Spanish civil war. The bodies of more than 30,000 victims of the war are buried in the complex.
The Spanish Civil War of 1936-39 was fought between the Nationalist forces, led by Franco, and the Republican faction. During the war, Republicans martyred thousands of clerics, religious, and laity; of these, 11 have been canonized, and more than 2,000 beatified.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.