Miguel Castells was a lawyer and member of the Spanish senate. In 1979 he wrote an article claiming that the authorities had not properly investigated a series of murders, allegedly carried out by extremist right-wing groups. According to Mr Castells, the extremist groups were guaranteed immunity from prosecution, before their crimes were carried out.
Mr Castells was prosecuted for insulting the government. Several times during the prosecution, Mr Castells offered to prove his accusations. However, the Spanish courts ruled that he was not allowed to give such evidence, because under Spanish law a person could be found guilty of insulting the nation’s institutions even if his accusations were true.
Mr Castells was convicted and sentenced to one year in prison, as well as a temporary ban on holding public office or carrying out a profession.