Spain's blasphemy laws stifle freedom
Religion Spainâs blasphemy laws stifle freedom The detention of a Spanish film actor over a blasphemy case is denounced by a group of humanist writers and performers, including Sandi Toksvig, Sara Pascoe, David Baddiel and Eddie Marsan
As actors, writers, comedians, and musicians, as well as patrons of Humanists UK, we were appalled to read in your pages about the detention of our colleague, the Spanish film actor Willy Toledo, in relation to the ongoing trial of three women accused of blasphemy in Spain (Spanish actor detained after ridiculing âGod and the Virgin Maryâ, 12 September).
Spain is one of several western European countries that continue to proscribe blasphemy in law â" an unconscionable violation of the right to freedom of thought, belief and expression. As entertainers and as humanists, we cherish free expression and wish to see the prime minister of Spain, Pedro SÃ¡nchez, take urgent action to repeal his countryâs blasphemy laws.
At a time when many of the worldâs most horrific regimes are using blasphemy laws to punish and persecute religious minorities and the non-religious alike, more and more democracies with blasphemy laws in statute are choosing to repeal these laws, including Denmark, Malta, Norway, Iceland, and France in the last three years. The governments of New Zealand, Canada, and Ireland have all started this process as well.
W e ask the prime minister of Spain to show solidarity with the millions of people still persecuted around the world for their beliefs and opinions by looking to repeal, rather than enforce, Spainâs medieval restrictions on the right to think and speak freely.
Shappi Khorsandi President, Humanists UK
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- Pedro SÃ¡nchez
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