Wednesday, November 9, 2022

"Article 10 does not stop at the gates of army barracks"

Thus spake the European Court of Human Rights yesterday in Ayuso Torres v. Spain, Application no. 74729/17.  At issue was whether a lieutenant colonel who also was a civilian professor of constitutional law had suffered an unwarranted restriction on his freedom of speech when a military decision that dismissed disciplinary proceedings against him as time-barred nonetheless observed that his televised personal views on the Spanish Constitution had exceeded the limits of free expression applicable to military personnel.

A note on the chronology:

Television show during which the applicant referred to the "pseudo-constitution" and said its origins were "spurious and bastardized," May 26, 2013

Newspaper account of television show, Sept. 23, 2013

Termination of investigation without action, Dec. 2, 2013

Central Military Court affirmance, with comment that the officer had exceeded the permissible limits of expression, Jan. 21, 2014

Dismissal of action for judicial review by the Central Military Court, Feb. 3, 2016

Dismissal of appeal by the Military Military Chamber of the Supreme Court, date unknown

Amparo dismissed by the Constitutional Court, Apr. 19, 2017

Application filed with the European Court of Human Rights, Oct. 10, 2017

ECtHR deliberations and decision, Oct. 11, 2022

Chamber Decision published, Nov. 8, 2022 

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