Spain's National Court judge has shelved an investigation into two puppeteers for allegedly praising terrorism in a theater show.

The court said Tuesday there was insufficient evidence that the puppeteers had committed an offence by using a sign during a performance in Madrid that said "Long Live Alka ETA." The message was a word-play reference to Spain's armed Basque group ETA and al-Qaida.

The Feb. 5 puppet show also showed the hanging of a judge in effigy and police beatings, prompting some parents attending the Carnival event with children to complain to authorities.

Praising terrorism is a crime in Spain.

The puppeteers have denied the allegations, saying their show was satirical.

They were initially arrested and jailed for five days, triggering much criticism from social and political groups.