The new law on citizen security in Spain
The new law on citizen security known in Spanish as Ley de Seguridad Ciudadana (or ley mordaza, gag law, by its detractors), is one of the most controversial laws of the last 10 years. It came into force on the 1st July 2015 under the general condemnation of the opposition parties.
The initial proposal came more than a year ago, but it was revised several times due to the sensitivity of certain issues touched by the law. Even though the most controversial aspects disappeared from the final text or were softened, the principle controversial aspect remained unchanged: the law basically changes a specific list of offences (faltas in Spanish), that previously needed the intervention of a judge, into administrative sanctions (sanciones administrativas in Spanish), i.e. fines, that do not require the intervention of the judicial system and can be imposed swiftly by the Police or the Guardia Civil. Opposition parties are claiming that this is catastrophic for democracy while government is claiming that citizen safety is put at risk by groups taking advantage of the inefficiency of past laws.
The list of offences that will be changed into fines is very long but we can mention the most important ones
Very serious infractions (fines from 30,000€ to 600,000€)
Non-authorised protests in places considered of infrastructural importance. For example, the indignados that camped in the Plaza Puerta de Sol in Madrid in 2011 (disrupting the whole city centre) could be fined under the new law.
Public events (concerts or shows) that were denied authorisation on the ground of lack of safety
To produce or to store weapons or explosives, without licences or safety measures
To project light or laser light on a driver’s face. preventing the danger of accidents
Serious infractions (fines from 600€ to 30,000€)
Unauthorised use of photos or personal data of law enforcement officers. The Opposition claim that with this it will make it impossible to document acts of brutality of police forces, while government is claiming that it is vital to protect the privacy of police officers in order to prevent retaliations against them or their families.
Obstructing public authorities when enforcing administrative measures (in particular evictions)
Growing cannabis or consuming drugs in public areas
Disrupting public order during public events
Disrupting authorised protests
Light Infractions (fines from 100€ to 600€)
The occupation of common spaces (public or private) outside the cases permitted by law
Squatting of private property
Illegal street selling
Abandon domestic animals
Alcohol consumption in public places when this is disrupting the public peace (“botellóns” when very noisy will be outlawed)
Express Expulsion of illegal immigrants. This measure is targeted in particular to the immigrants entering Ceuta and Melilla who will be returned immediately to Morocco.
Extended definition of terrorism
Visiting web pages with terrorist content regularly, leaking documents or spread public messages or slogans intended to incite others to commit any act of terrorism will be considered as terrorism