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Spanish man fined €480 for photoshopping his face into an image of Christ

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By Cristina Abellan Matamoros  with El Pais, Diario de Jaen
Spanish man fined €480 for photoshopping his face into an image of Christ

A court in the southern Spanish city of Jaen has fined a 24-year-old man €480 for an Instagram post showing his face photoshopped onto an image of Christ's body.

Daniel Serrano was sentenced for an “attack against religious feelings” for posting the photo in April 2017.

The sentence was verbally dictated by judges on Wednesday after Serrano plead guilty to the charges and agreed to pay the €480 in damages.

That particular depiction of the crucifixion of Christ is known in the south of Spain as the Cristo de la Amargura (Christ of Bitterness). It belongs to the Hermandad de La Amargura (the Church Brotherhood of Bitterness), who take part in Seville's Easter week parade with the Cristo de la Amargura.

According to the Spanish daily El Pais, the brotherhood asked Serrano to remove the picture on various occasions. But after not getting an answer, they decided to take him to court.

The public prosecutor’s office described the picture as an “embarrassing manipulation of Christ’s face,” which evidenced “contempt and mockery towards the religious brotherhood”.

In an interview with local newspaper Diario Jaen, Serrano said he wasn’t sure how he would pay the fine.

He said he just started working in the field picking olives to make olive oil said it would take 10 shifts in the field to pay back the fine.

Serrano said he pleaded guilty to avoid paying the initial fine of €2,160.

“But I never intended to offend anyone,” he added.

'Freedom of speech'

Ignacio Gonzalez Vega, a spokesperson for the Spanish association, Jueces para la Democracia (Judges for Democracy), says that the sentence goes against the man's freedom of expression. 

"There is an article in the penal code about religious offenses but the Spanish Constitution says that freedom of speech must prevail [before religious offenses]," Gonzalez told Euronews

Gonzalez believes Serrano could have brought the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg for violation of freedom of speech if he refused to accept the sentence.