Status: 02/16/2021 11:43 a.m.
The Spanish rapper Hasél was sentenced to nine months in prison for insulting the monarchy and glorifying terrorism. Now he has been arrested. He had barricaded himself in the university in the city of Lleida.
Spanish police arrested rapper Pablo Hasél, who was sentenced to imprisonment for insulting the monarchy and glorifying terrorism. The 32-year-old barricaded himself together with supporters in the university in the Catalan city of Lleida.
Debate about freedom of expression
A court sentenced the musician, known in Spain for his sometimes radical lyrics, to nine months in prison for insulting the royal family and glorifying violence in texts and tweets. Hasél called the former King Juan Carlos I, who fled to Abu Dhabi after allegations of corruption and in view of judicial investigations, among other things, as a “parasite”. His texts also contain fantasies of violence against conservative politicians.
He himself sees this covered by freedom of expression. The prison sentence is controversial in Spain. More than 200 artists showed their solidarity with Hasél, including the film director Pedro Almodóvar and the actor Javier Bardem. The imprisonment of Hasél was a sword of Damocles over the heads of all public figures who dared to criticize state institutions, they wrote in a petition.
Government wants to soften penalties
Last week, the Spanish left-wing government announced that it would abolish prison sentences for offenses that affect freedom of expression. She didn’t mention Hasel’s name or gave a schedule. Human rights groups had repeatedly criticized the law passed by the previous conservative government in 2015 because it restricted freedom of expression.