A Guardia Civil officer has become the first person criminally convicted in Spain of spreading ‘fake news’.
He used a social media account to falsely allege that a group of Moroccan child migrants attacked a Barcelona area woman.
The officer, JM, has been given a 15-month prison sentence by a Barcelona court but suspended so long as he does not commit another crime and that he attends a ‘re-education’ course.
The man posted a video of a brutal attack on a woman and said it had been committed by a gang of migrant children based at a centre in Canet de Mar.
The footage was in fact an assault in China which had been released by authorities to discover the identity of the attacker.
JM accepted that the posting was a lie and was motivated by his ‘animosity towards Moroccan immigrants’.
A few days before he took to social media in July 2019, a woman was allegedly raped by two minors from the Canet de Mar centre.
Earlier in the year, residents started blaming foreign youngsters- without any evidence- for a rise in local crime.
Sentencing JM, the court said he spread the video- which had 22,000 views- ‘with manifest disregard for the truth’ to ‘globally and unfairly defame unaccompanied children from other countries’ so that ‘they were associated with violent attacks and sexual assaults’.
The court added that postings like JM’s ‘increase prejudices and stereotypes of this especially vulnerable group among the general population’.
It was revealed that the officer’s social media accounts were littered with posts of a ‘xenophobic and racist nature’ with fake information about immigrants.
He even deleted his accounts once he was investigated but cyber experts managed to restore them.
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