Parade aimed to defend rights rather than offend religious sensibilities, judge says

A judge in Seville has thrown out charges of crimes against religious sentiment against three women who carried a two-metre latex effigy of a vagina in a May Day parade.

The case dates back to 2014 when the accused carried the offending statue, which they called the coo insumiso (rebellious pussy), in a parade organised by the general workers union, in an apparent parody of the effigies of saints and the Virgin Mary carried on religious parades.

The women said they were marching on behalf of the Guild of the Sacred Rebellious Pussy and the Sacred Burial of Social and Workers Rights.

The three women Roco Ballesta, Antonia valos and a third who preferred to remain anonymous claimed they were singled out of a group of 200 who took part in the march.

We feel that we are being persecuted and criminalised for defending womens sexual and reproductive rights, said valos.

The three denied wishing to cause offence and said they simply wanted to draw attention to their belief that the churchs teaching denied women fundamental rights at a time when the government was planning to introduce a restrictive abortion law.

The case was dropped in 2016 as the court found that publicly proclaiming that you dont follow a religious faith represented freedom of expression. It was reopened a year later when the Association of Christian Lawyers brought a civil action for crimes against religious sentiment and mocking Catholic symbols and dogma.

The lawyers association also claimed the women wore hoods in the manner of penitents and chanted the Virgin would also have had an abortion, as well as parodies of the Credo, the Christian liturgy, and the immutable truths behind the Catholic faith.

In his ruling, the judge said the point of the procession was not to offend religious sensibilities but to defend social, workers and feminist rights.

Maria Alyokhina, a founding member of the Russian feminist group Pussy Riot, joined the Andalusian Human Rights Association and other groups protesting outside the court against the attempted prosecution, which they denounced as an affront to freedom of speech and the criminalisation of social movements.

The case is totally unjust and bears many similarities to the repression in Russia, Alyokhina said, adding: After all, we all come out of a vagina.

In 2012 Alyokhina, better known as Masha, was condemned to two years in Siberia after Pussy Riot staged a performance at a Moscow cathedral that was critical of Vladimir Putin.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/us

 

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