| Pablo Hasél |
(rapper, writer, poet, political activist)
|Born||Pablo Rivadulla Duró|
9 August 1988
Pablo Hasél (born Pablo Rivadulla Duró on 9 August 1988), is a Catalan rapper, writer, poet, and political activist. His songs, often in support of far-left politics, have frequently led him into troubles with Spain's judiciary, whose actions have in turn been criticised as an attack on free speech, in Catalonia and overseas.
Pablo Hasél was imprisoned on 16 February 2021 over tweets praising convicted terrorists, although he was also sanctioned for accusing the police of torture and the Crown of corruption. Hasél's jailing on a nine-month sentence led to nightly demonstrations which have deteriorated into running battles between police and thousands of protestors in cities including Valencia, Madrid and Barcelona.
At issue are more than 60 tweets published between 2014 and 2016 for which Hasél was given a nine-month prison sentence for "glorification of terrorism" that was handed down in 2018.
Hasél was also fined some 25,000 euros ($30,000) for insults, libel and slander for tweets likening former king Juan Carlos I to a mafia boss and accusing police of torturing and killing demonstrators and migrants.
Early in February 2021, Spain's government pledged to reduce the penalty for "crimes of expression" such as the glorification of terrorism, hate speech, insults to the Crown and offences against religious sensibilities, in the context of artistic, cultural or intellectual activities.
The Pablo Hasél case echoes that of another rapper called "Valtonyc" who fled to Belgium in 2018 after being convicted of similar crimes. Spain is trying to have him extradited but Belgium has refused on grounds that his offences are not a crime under Belgian law.
Support for Hasél
Pablo Hasél's case has drawn widespread support including a manifesto signed by more than 200 artists, including leading lights of Spanish cinema such as director Pedro Almodovar and Hollywood actor Javier Bardem as well as iconic folk singer Joan Manuel Serrat:
- "We have come together to show support for Pablo, to demand his release and that these types of crimes — which curtail rights, not only freedom of expression but also ideological and artistic freedom — be removed from the penal code."
- "The Hasél protests and Spain’s crackdown on dissent"
- "Spanish rapper given jail for glorifying terrorism vows to disobey"
- "Police arrest rapper holed up in Catalan university to avoid jail for tweets"
- "EXPLAINER: The tweets that landed Spanish rapper Pablo Hasel in jail"
- "Spain to rethink free speech laws after rapper jailed for insulting Crown"
- "Amnesty tweets support"