Manuel Vázquez, a Spanish man who had previously been condemned by a Barcelona court to two years for kidnapping his sister's boyfriend, has had 6 months added to his sentence by Spain's Supreme Court.
The victim, Alexander Javier Rodríguez, whose girlfriend's family did not approve of him because he was not a Gypsy, had his life threatened by Vázquez during an altercation in front of Rodríguez' place of work. The brother allegedly told him that he had better forget about being with the young woman because Gypsies have their "rules."
Rodríguez and a friend were then forced by Vázquez and an under-aged accomplice into a car and driven to a vacant piece of land outside the city. There they were made to get out of the car and Rodríguez was forced to undress. Vázquez and the accomplice then drove away, leaving the two friends with no phone or money, and Rodríguez with no clothes. The police later found the two victims walking back to Barcelona on the highway, with Rodríguez wearing a few pieces of clothes loaned by his friend and workers at a factory they had passed.
Vázquez was given a two year jail sentence by the Provincial Court of Barcelona for illegal detention of another and a fine of 240 euros for unjust humiliation. However, that court absolved him of violating the moral integrity of the victim. The District Attorney's Office appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, claiming that not only was Rodríguez subjected to degrading treatment, but that it was directed against his dignity as a person. The prosecutor believed that Vázquez's actions constituted such a crime, as outlined by both the Spanish Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights.
The Supreme Court agreed, finding that being stripped of his clothes "constitutes especially humiliating conduct towards the victim, who was left completely naked before the defendant and the under-aged accomplice."
"The conduct of the defendant constitutes a serious humiliation of the personal dignity of the victim, with the aim of subjugating his will", the decision stated, adding that the Vázquez' behavior "involves degrading treatment, intended to humiliate the victim and to cause him unquestionable mental distress, of sufficient magnitude to be considered a crime against moral integrity."
In addition to having his sentence increased, Vázquez has also been prohibited from coming within one kilometer of Rodríguez for a period of five years.