Court sentences Catalan rapper to 2 years in prison for lyrics and tweets
Pablo Hasél vows he will “never give up” after he is found guilty of glorifying terrorism and defaming the crown and state institutions
Spain’s National Court has sentenced the Catalan rapper Pablo Hasél to two years in prison for glorifying terrorism and defaming the crown and state institutions in his lyrics in a song on YouTube and in messages on Twitter. The court also fined him 24,300 euros. According to the court, Hasél's statements were "directed against the authority of the state" and mention "the need to go further and use violent means, including terrorism." On hearing the court's ruling, the Catalan artist, whose real name is Pablo Rivadulla, vowed he will “never give up."
If the Supreme Court confirms the sentence, Hasél will have to go to prison due to a two-year suspended sentence in 2014, also for glorifying terrorism. In reacting to the sentence on Twitter, Hasél pointed out that the accumulation of sentences against him could see him spending five years in prison “for crimes of opinion,” as he described the offenses of which he was found guilty. Also on Twitter, he pointed out: "If I had said that Catalans, immigrants, anti-fascists or homosexuals deserve to be bombed, I would have been protected by the same fascist judges who sentenced me."
In his court appearance, the rapper argued that he used his songs and tweets to expose “objective facts” that he considered “unjust” and to defend “democratic rights.” Yet, the court upheld the prosecution’s charges, sentencing Hasel to jail time and a fine for the contents of some 60 messages posted on Twitter and a song posted on YouTube between 2014 and 2016. An example of one of Hasél’s posts showed a photo of a member of the Marxist Leninist GRAPO group, which advocates violent resistance to the state, with the comment: “protests are necessary, but not enough, let’s support those who went further.”
"If I had said that Catalans, immigrants, anti-fascists or homosexuals deserve to be bombed, I would have been protected by the same fascist judges who sentenced me"
Pablo Hasél · rapper
However, the court dismissed Hasél’s arguments that his messages and lyrics were “mere commentary expressing an opinion” and found him guilty of inciting “violent and terrorist activity.” As for Hasél’s messages about the monarchy, the court said they went beyond “expressing political support for another type of State” and were written with the intention of slandering the monarchy and encouraging opposition to it “even in a violent way.”The court also found Hasél guilty of defaming state institutions by repeatedly accusing state law enforcement officers of a range of serious crimes, including “murders and torture.”
Hasel’s sentence comes less than two weeks after Mallorcan rapper Josep Miquel Arenas Beltrán, more popularly known as 'Valtonyc’, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for glorifying terrorism, slander and defamation of the crown in his song lyrics.