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Judge orders seizure of satirical magazine over cartoon of prince and wife

(RSF/IFEX) - RSF condemns the 20 July 2007 seizure order by Judge Juan del Olmo of an issue of the satirical weekly magazine "El Jueves". The issue carries a cartoon on the cover of Crown Prince Felipe and his wife Letizia having sex.

The judge said the cartoon may have violated Article 490.3 of the Criminal Code, which punishes "insults" to the royal family by up to two years imprisonment, and also Article 491, which fines actions considered to undermine the family's reputation.

"Freedom to caricature is a component of freedom of expression," said RSF. "We understand that some might find the cover illustration in bad taste, but nothing justifies an act of censorship. It seems the legal system has been over-zealous in this case, but we would have hoped for a more reasonable approach from Spain, one of the great European democracies."

RSF added: "Now we hope the authorities apologise to the magazine and its readers, and take steps to ensure such censorship does not recur. As a first step, an amendment to the penal code would be advisable."

The cartoon showed the royal couple on a bed as part of criticism of the government's policy to promote larger families. The smiling prince is saying to his wife: "You know, if you get pregnant, it'll be the closest I've ever come to knowing what work feels like."

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