Man Faces Two-Year Prison Sentence for Opening Letter Addressed to His 10-Year-Old Son

A Spanish man risks spending the next two years in prison for opening a letter addressed to his 10-year-old son and using it as evidence in a trial against the boy’s mother.

In a hearing held on Wednesday in the Spanish city of Seville, a father was accused by the prosecution of violating his child’s privacy by opening a letter addressed to him, which he was not authorized to do. The letter had been sent by the boy’s maternal aunt, and in it he was told how he should testify against his father in a 2012 domestic abuse case brought against the defendant by his own wife, the boy’s mother. The child’s aunt reportedly also insulted his father in the letter, which was then used by the defendant in court to prove that his wife’s family had coerced his son to testify against him. He was acquitted in that case, but now faces a two-year prison sentence and financial compensation for violating private correspondence.

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It was the boy’s mother who took legal action against her former husband, accusing him of reading and publicly disclosing private information. Through her lawyers, the woman asked for a two-year prison sentence and compensation amounting to 3,000 euros ($3,340). La Vanguardia reports that the woman’s lawyers also asked that the man pay her client an additional 6 euros per day for 12 months, a total of 2,160 euros, but the reason is not specified.

In his defense, the father’s attorneys claimed that he had opened the letter by accident, because he shares the same first nae as his son. Furthermore, even if that hadn’t been the case, the defense argues that by opening the letter, the man simply exercised parental authority, which he was perfectly entitled to do.

For its part, the Office of the Prosecutor asked that the defendant be acquitted in this case, arguing that it agrees that he had exercised parental authority over the minor. However, the judge presiding over the case has yet to make a final ruling.

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