Christian lawyers lose slander case
By Alex Watkins A LAWSUIT by the Spanish association of Christian lawyers against a United Left (IU) party councillor in Callosa de Segura has been thrown out of court.
They had accused deputy mayor Ismael Ballester of besmirching their honour over comments he made at a press conference after a confrontation over the removal of the Cruz de los Caídos civil war monument from the town centre by the council in compliance with the law of historical memory.
The monument commemorated residents who had fallen fighting for Franco and the founder of the fascist Falange party, José Antonio Primo de Rivera.
Its removal was nonetheless unpopular in some circles, from the Catholic Church to far-right groups including the modern-day Falange party.
Some residents formed a protest group, which was represented by the association of Christian lawyers and camped around the monument outside the San Martín church by the town hall for months to prevent it from being removed.
Sr Ballester accused the association of being antidemocratic and denigrating women’s rights, especially the LGBTI collective.
However, the judge concluded that although his remarks could, taken out of context, be considered annoying, offensive or slanderous, in the circumstances they were not so ‘unquestionably slanderous’ as to be considered an attack against their honour.
As a result his criticism was considered to be acceptable freedom of expression of his ideas, given his role as deputy mayor describing the positions being taken by some against the democratically taken decision of the council, according to IU.
Sr Ballester thanked those who had supported him and commented that he was happy and knew justice would be done, adding that now he wanted ‘this to be over so I can continue with my work, which deserves all my effort’.
The cross was part of the monument which was removed