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Spanish comedian faces probe for using flag as handkerchief

MADRID (AP) — A Spanish comedian has appeared in a Madrid court after he blew his nose with the country’s national flag during a televised sketch.

Comedian Daniel Mateo is being investigated for allegedly insulting the nation’s symbol and inciting hate, which can be punished with up to 4 years in prison.

The 29 year-old declined to testify Monday arguing that he needed more time to prepare his defense.

Mateo had said he worried about the country’s image because “a clown has to stand before a judge just because he was doing his job.”

The sketch unleashed a debate over patriotism and the limits of free speech in humor, with some internet users calling for a boycott of the channel that aired the program and advertisers cancelling contracts.

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