Madrid court acquits artist of desecrating Spanish dictator General Franco’s tomb with red paint

AN artist who painted a dove and a slogan on top of dictator General Franco’s tomb has been acquitted of desecration.

Madrid’s Provincial Court also decided that Enrique Tenreiro did not infringe a religious freedom law.

In October 2018, Tenreiro smuggled red paint past security at the entrance to the basilica of the Valley of the Fallen, 50 kilometres outside Madrid.

The building was mainly constructed by forced labour deployed by Franco.

The artist, 52, then spray-painted the words ‘For Freedom’ along with the image of a dove on the dictator’s tomb.

Tenreiro said at the time that he did not want to alienate ‘Franco’s family and his supporters’ but to point out the ‘suffering of families and relatives caused by the Spanish Civil War’.

It was the latest in a series of high-profile actions by the performance artist, painter, and sculptor.

Enrique Tenreiro
ENRIQUE TENREIRO (Cordon Press image)

In 2016, he staged a protest against Santiago de Compostela council over waste.

Tenreiro walked bare-chested around a main city square with a cross on his back.

Madrid judges threw out a private prosecution over the Franco dove painting plus demands for Tenreiro to pay the tomb’s €833 clean-up bill.

The court ruled that it is ‘not appreciated that there had been a desecration or violation of Franco’s tomb’ with ‘no intention of disrespecting the dead’.

Tumba De Franco En El Valle De Los Caídos
TOURISTS AT FRANCO TOMB,2018 (Cordon Press image)

Tenreiro, on a split decision from the judges, was also found not guilty of committing a crime against freedom of expression.

The Public Prosecutor wanted him to get a one-year jail term.

The argument revolved around his actions happening just as a Catholic mass was about to start.

Prosecutors said that the choir was taking its place and priests going to the altar for the service which had to be delayed because of Tenreiro’s behaviour.

Two of the three Madrid judges said Tenreiro’s action did not break the freedom law as the mass had not yet started and his protest was not against any religious beliefs.

The dissenting judge said there was ‘an intention to offend’.

The rulings can be appealed at higher courts in the Madrid area.

General Franco’s remains were exhumed on the order of the Spanish government almost a year after Tenreiro’s protest.

His body was taken by helicopter to a crypt in the Mingorrubio state cemetery where his wife was already buried.

Luis Alfonso De Borbon And Jose Cristobal Martinez Bordiu And Francisco Martinez Bordiu (francis Franco) During Francisco Franco Exhumation By Spanish Goverment On Friday At Valle De Los Caidos ( The Valley Of The Fallen ) In San Lorenzo Del Escorial, Spai
FINAL JOURNEY, OCTOBER 2019 (Cordon Press image)

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