Spanish Cartoonist Fined for Lampooning Crown Prince

Two cartoonists who depicted Spain's crown prince having sex with his wife were convicted Tuesday of insulting the heir to the throne and were fined $4,370 each.

The drawing — which appeared on the cover of the satirical magazine El Jueves in July — depicted Crown Prince Felipe with his wife, Princess Letizia.

The caption alluded to a new government measure designed to boost Spain's low birth rate by offering $3,640 to families for each new child born or adopted.

In the cartoon, the prince says to the princess: "Do you realize if you get pregnant, this will be the closest to real work I've ever done?"

At the time, a judge ordered the magazine confiscated from newsstands on the grounds that it insulted the royal family. El Jueves has a circulation of 70,000.

The defendants, artist Guillermo Torres and writer Manel Fontdevila, said they did not mean to offend the royal family and went into trial saying they would draw the cartoon again. They since have penned others drawing poking fun at Spain's royals.

But Judge Jose Maria Vazquez Honrubia of the National Court said Tuesday that the two men "vilified the crown in the most gratuitous and unnecessary way" and fined them.

Fontdevila criticized the judge's decision as unfair, calling it "surprising ... from a court that is supposed to be important in this country."

The Committee to Protect Journalists called the fines "censorship."

"Those in positions of power or privilege have to tolerate political satire which is a vital component of a healthy democracy," said Nina Ognianova, Europe and Central Asia program coordinator for the CPJ. "We call on the authorities to desist from such prosecutions in the future."