This February 15, after the expiration of the deadline established by the National Court for rapper Pablo Hasél to enter prison voluntarily, the young Spaniard decided to take shelter with a group of supporters at the University of Lleida, in Catalonia. This didn’t prevent his arrest today by the Catalan police forces. Hasél denounced the process as an attack on freedom of expression, and social media users commented that Spain’s freedom of speech had entered an intensive care unit (ICU).
— Directa (@La_Directa) February 16, 2021
Around 250 police officers (Mossos d’Esquadra) entered the university facilities to detain Hasél. The National High Court had condemned the rapper for the crimes of “glorifying terrorism and insulting the monarchy,” and sentenced him to nine months in prison.
Tuits por los que van a encarcelarme en unos minutos u horas. Literalmente por explicar la realidad. Mañana puedes ser tú. pic.twitter.com/chlGr77JO9
— Pablo Hasel (@PabloHasel) February 16, 2021
After the arrest warrant was issued against Hasél, the police forces prepared to detain him and bring him in. Hundreds of supporters gathered and defended the Catalan rapper until the moment of his arrest by the autonomous police of Catalonia.
— Directa (@La_Directa) February 16, 2021
Raising his voice
The Catalan rapper defended his thoughts and ideals until the moment of his arrest. His last words before entering the police car were “death to the fascist state.”
Las ultimas palabras de Pablo Hasel luego de ser detenido: "Muerte al estado fascista".
El rapero catalán está preso por "injurias a la corona" en sus letras. pic.twitter.com/VT5UgbGW6a
— REDRADIOVE (@RedRadioVe) February 16, 2021
Social media reactions
Hundreds of users showed solidarity with Hasél through social media networks. Most were critical of the state, labeling the sentence as an attack against freedom of speech and an undemocratic practice.
Hoy un cantante será detenido y llevado a la cárcel tras ser condenado por unos tuits. Estamos ante un síntoma de déficits democráticos graves. Y quienes lo niegan hacen flaco favor a lo que sí funciona bien de la democracia española, que es mucho también.
— Alberto Garzón🔻 (@agarzon) February 16, 2021
Han detenido a Pablo Hasél por rapear que los Borbones son unos ladrones. Mientras, el domingo, NAZ1S escupían públicamente su odio contra los judíos sin que haya consecuencias.
Lo llaman normalidad democrática y no lo es. Y tú puedes ser el siguiente. #LlibertadPabloHasel pic.twitter.com/X8OFMUYMdB
— Spanish Revolution (@spanishrevorg) February 16, 2021
El rapero Pablo Hasel preso por tuitear contra la corona de España, el Rey refugiado Abu Dabi luego de cometer varios delitos y la secretaría de Cultura de Podemos dice que es “complejo” indultar a Hasel después de pedir su libertad. Una radiografía de España y el progresismo.
— Bruno Sgarzini (@brunosgarzini) February 16, 2021
🎶🎛️¿Se ha condenado al rapero Pablo Hasel a 9 meses y 1 día de prisión por rapear? ¿Por cantar? ¿Se le condena injustamente vulnerando su "libertad de expresión" en unos tuits? Veamos qué dijo y qué dice la sentencia. MINI HILO. 🧵(1/13) pic.twitter.com/vvX5Ec1TZs
— Gonzalo Bans (@gonbans) February 16, 2021
Los borbones son unos ladrones. Valtonyc cumple 950 días exiliado y hoy han metido preso a Pablo Hasel por rapearlo.pic.twitter.com/GBxSVzfpe3
— Fonsi Loaiza (@FonsiLoaiza) February 16, 2021
For its part, the Spanish political party Podemos—part of the government coalition— at a press conference announced that they will present, in the next few hours, a petition requesting a pardon for Pablo Hasél:
“Because we understand that it cannot be standard procedure in a democracy that, while the investigation for corruption of the monarchy is closed, they imprison those who criticize them in their songs. It cannot be standard procedure in a democracy that, while there are demonstrations permitted in which Nazism and the Holocaust are glorified, there is someone in prison for singing that the Bourbon [king] is a thief; and it seems that it is not standard procedure in a democracy for Spain to be the only country in Europe, with the exception of Turkey, that has a rapper in jail.”
Podemos’ statement pointed out that the situation is highly undemocratic.
‼️ Registramos una petición de indulto para Pablo Hasél.
En las próximas horas registraremos la petición para acabar con esta anormalidad democrática. pic.twitter.com/1E3h53Yo4Q
— PODEMOS (@PODEMOS) February 16, 2021
Spain: country with the highest number of imprisoned artists worldwide
“Today we have a phenomenon of censorship in society. It is easier for people to have a voice, and for opinions of all kinds to reach immediately and everywhere,” commented the writer and journalist Nacho Carretero.
In 2019, fourteen artists were detained in Spain for their public statements, reportedly more arrests than any other country.
Alberto González Pulido, coordinator of an NGO that consults the United Nations, Freemuse, reported that in 2019 artistic freedom was restricted up to 711 times in 93 different countries, and that “Spain is the country with the most prison sentences in the world.”
Featured image: Spain’s Freedom of Speech in ICU: Anti-monarchist Pablo Hasél arrested. Photo courtesy of Twitter.
Translation: Orinoco Tribune