Anger exploded in Spain after the arrest of rapper Pablo Hasel (stage name of Pablo Rivadulla Duro). In Madrid, the authorities tried to contain the protests demanding the release of the artist, who was arrested in Lleida on charges of “condoning terrorism” and insults against the Spanish monarchy. Riots also occurred in Barcelona and Mossos d’Esquadra, the police force of Catalonia, had to arrest at least 29 people.
Hasel is a well-known 32-year-old Catalan rapper, who will now have to serve nine months in prison for what many consider “a crime of opinion”. From Pedro Almodovar to Javier Bardem, there are many artists who have sided in his favor and in favor of freedom of expression.
The Hasel case reached the Chamber of Deputies, when Albert Botran, deputy of the Catalan independence party Candidatura di Unita Popolare (Cup) played the rapper’s song from his mobile phone during his speech. Here the video:
A report by Freemuse, taken up by the Institute for International Political Studies (Ispi), claims that “Spain is at the top of a list of countries examined for the number of artists imprisoned in 2019 alone, as many as 14: above Iran, Turkey and Myanmar “. Even the European Court of Human Rights had sent to Madrid to review the regulations in this regard, stressing that “freedom of expression protects not only harmless opinions, but also those that hurt”.
There are other cases of artists accused of inciting hatred against the Spanish monarchy, such as the case of rapper Cesar Strawberry, Cassandra or the group “Titeres desde abajo”. Here is the video of one of their shows:
In 2017 the Constitutional Court overturned a one-year prison sentence by the Spanish Supreme Court against Cesar Strawberry for condoning terrorism because his tweets “were nothing more than a manifestation of the exercise of the fundamental right to freedom of expression “.
Hasel’s arrest resulted in a 2018 sentence, two years in prison and a € 24,300 fine for a series of tweets against the Crown and state institutions. However, six months later, the Court of Appeals had reduced the sentence to nine months and one day in jail because his words posed no real threat to the security of the state.
Despite the precedents, Hasel continued his invectives and also incited to carry out personal attacks against politicians and members of the monarchy, and for this he was arrested.
“Beware of the PSOE pigs eating with the monarchy. I would shoot one by one, it would be appropriate, something would improve “; “Someone stick an ice ax in Jose Bono’s head!” or “Patxi Lopez’s car should be blown up!” are some of the phrases for which the rapper was convicted. Here is the video of the song “Ni Felipe VI”:
But it’s not just about the songs and thoughts launched on Twitter. As the El Confidencial site recalls, there is a long list in Hasel’s criminal record. The young man was sentenced to two and a half years in prison in Lleida for having threatened a witness in a trial against the municipal traffic police. In February 2017 he was convicted of a crime of resistance and disobedience and in July 2018 for breaking in.
The singer’s arrest adds fuel to a heated debate on the state of the Spanish monarchy and the (very tense) relations between Madrid and the autonomous region of Catalonia (here the interview by on the latest elections in Catalonia).
Among the scandals that have further affected the popularity of the monarchy among the Spaniards are the luxurious life of King Juan Carlos in Abu Dhabi, and the decision to have Infanta Leonor studied in Wales for two years (at the expense of taxpayers). .
The riots in the main Spanish cities over the Hasel case should attract the attention of all of Europe because they raise problems that affect the entire continent.
To understand them, just look at the profile of those who demonstrate in favor of Hasel and against the Spanish Crown
The newspaper El Periodico reports an identikit of the Catalan police. The protesters are between 18 and 25 years old, many of them do not belong to any political collective nor can they be easily pigeonholed into a concrete ideology. “The analysts of the Comissaria General d’Informacio study the conflict – reads the publication – and, although it is still too early to reach conclusions, they maintain that there are various social factors as a detonator of violence: there are fatigue due to health measures, economic crisis caused by the pandemic, the advancement of a group like Vox and the increase in youth unemployment […] Everything exploded with ‘la Hasel’ ”.

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