Spanish Nuns Fined for Restoring Church Organ

Country: Spain

Date of incident: November 18, 2017

Category: Government Restrictions

Attack against: Faith

Area of case: Governmental

The Andalusian government fined a convent of Spanish nuns 170,000 euros for having a priceless church organ repaired without the state's permission. After public outcry, the fine was reduced to 1,1710 euros on December 19, 2017.

The sisters of Santa Ines in Seville accepted the offer from a local charity to restore the instrument for free. Abbess Blanca Cervantes defended the nuns' decision and told the ABC de Sevilla newspaper: "It hasn't worked for 30 years, and we couldn't afford the estimated cost of more than 150,000 euros.

"We only make enough money from the sale of sweets to cover our bills and national insurance payments." Unbeknown to them, their actions could be considered a criminal offense.

The regional government of Andalusia fined the convent 170,000 euros for the "unauthorized" work on the organ. It said it would let the charity finish the restoration work in time for Christmas.

The organ was built by 17th century Perez Valladolid before Andalusia's Ministry of Culture listed it as an Item of cultural significance in 1983.

While the ministry insists it is simply applying the law, according to the BBC, it said it willing to show mercy to the nuns by offering to cut the fine to102,000 euros if they settled and paid outside of court.

CitizenGo collected 65,000 signatures asking the government to reconsider the excessive fine. On December 19th, the government reduced the fine to 2,850 euros and indicated if they paid immediately, it would be further reduced to 1,710 euros.

Sources: Premier (photo credit), El Mundo, Citizen Go