Spanish War Tax Redirecter States His Case in Court

From ’s papers in Spain (translation mine, so the usual caveats apply):

Appeal before the Superior Court ruling to redirect some income tax to non-military social ends

A man has brought an appeal in the Superior Court of Justice of the Valencian Community against the conviction that sentenced him to pay 219 euros to the Treasury that he withheld from his income tax return for and redirected to social ends in protest against military spending.

As he explained to EFE, Jorge Güemes, who declares himself a “war tax resister,” in withheld “some” of the money that he had to pay to the tax agency and redirected it to “more just ends” than military ones.

“I took out the percentage destined for military spending in the Ministry of Defence, dedicated, among other things, to research and development of weapons, and this money of my taxes will go to the group Per L’Horta,” he said, and added that he sent to the Treasury a receipt of his payment to the group.

For Güemes, organizations such as the beneficiary of his gesture can “work better” with that money than, in his opinion, can the Spanish Army.

“The Treasury demanded the money from me and then began a legal back-and-forth of claims and administrative counter-claims up to the present day,” he said, and indicated that this — before the Superior Court of Justice — is the last administrative recourse.

“It seems to me fair and useful what I did. I saw the injustice that my money was destined to prepare for war and to buy armaments. I think that one must spend on other things,” he said, and stressed that he means to assert with this attutude a fundamental right.

“I’m not looking for people to be able to pay their taxes a la carte because some taxes seem just to me. But I plead because the big money is not spent that is tied up in military spending,” he affirmed.

The action is branded in the campaign called “war tax resistance” that for thirty years has led Spanish pacifist and antimilitarist groups such as the Antimilitarist Alternative / Movement of Conscientious Objection (MOC), which pertains to the youth.

The appeal presented today against the last decision of the Regional Administrative Economic Tribunal (TEAR), which confirmed the ruling of the Treasury, maintains that the action of Güemes is an expression of fundamental rights such as the freedom of belief, “that — as defined — covers not only any manner of belief but also the action consistent with it.”

And so, he argues that conscientious objection to the maintenance of armies is an expression of freedom of belief and, therefore, its exercise “would not merely be limited to the now-defunct field of obligatory military service,” and the Constitution and international law consecrate this right.

Civil disobedience that supposes pacifist tax resistance is defended in this appeal as that which “would guarantee the collective political right to live in a peaceful world, against which the support of armies, military spending, and the policies of preparation for war would be an obstacle.”

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