Why Are Spanish Authorities Using Such a Heavy Hand against a Small Religious Group?

My friend Angel Martín has alerted me to a disturbing affair in Spain, which involves a small religious group known as the Congregación del Olivo. More than six years ago, the Spanish legal authorities and police undertook to treat this peaceful group as if it were a terrorist conspiracy or similarly dangerous band, charging it with various crimes. The group categorically denies every charge made against its members. The media have reported on this affair in a completely one-sided way, not even bothering to solicit the views of the accused persons and repeating the claims lodged against them without confirming the truth of these accusations.

Martín, who has followed this story for some time, is seeking to bring greater public scrutiny to the matter, which on its face appears to involve oppressive state action against inoffensive people who have violated no one’s rights and who seek only to live in peace according to their religious convictions. The group has recently established a website, although at present the site has little content and not all of the materials posted there have been translated into English. The website is available at http://www.congregaciondelolivo.com/en/persecucion_sec_8.html .

If the authorities have acted as heavy-handedly as they appear to have acted, then it would serve the cause of justice if publicity were brought to bear on their actions and efforts were made to ensure that the Congregación del Olivo receives the just treatment to which all persons are entitled.

Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy at the Independent Institute, author or editor of over fourteen Independent books, and Editor at Large of Independent’s quarterly journal The Independent Review.
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