The accused entering a Barcelona court for sentencing. / EFE

Policeman is first person in Spain to be convicted for spreading 'fake news'

The Guardia Civil officer was found guilty of defaming foreign immigrants online


A Guardia Civil officer in Spain has been found guilty of defaming foreign immigrants and he is the first person in the country to be convicted for spreading 'fake news' online.

According to the prosecutor, in 2019 the defendant managed an account on the social network Twitter as he was "moved by his animosity and rejection of foreign immigrants of Moroccan origin”.

According to the Public Prosecutor's Office, he posted a tweet and disseminated a video with an alleged rape committed apparently by two children of foreign origin. The Guardia Civil officer led other users to believe that the scene occurred in Canet de Mar, Barcelona, when in fact the video, viewed by nearly 22,000 people, showed images of a fight and a sexual assault in China.

"Here you have the video of the Moroccan 'mena' of Canet de Mar,” he wrote on Twitter, using the acronym 'mena' for menor extranjero no acompañado, or unaccompanied foreign child, a word often used negatively by far-right parties such as Vox.

The defendant's profile contained multiple posts of a xenophobic and racist nature the court heard.

A plea agreement led to a reduction in the two-year sentence sought by the prosecutor. The jail sentence is suspended and the convicted man is banned from publishing discriminatory content on social networks.