Spanish riot police storm university and arrest rapper Pablo Hasel

Spanish riot police storm university and arrest rapper who’s been sentenced to NINE YEARS in jail for tweets ‘glorifying terrorism’ and calling the king a mafia boss

  • Pablo Hasel had barricaded himself inside a Catalan university on Monday
  • Hasel, known for his leftist views, was due to begin a nine-month sentence
  • Riot police stormed university to arrest rapper and ‘enforce the judicial ruling’
  • Hasel’s case sparked protests against his jailing in Madrid and Barcelona

Dozens of Spanish riot police stormed a Catalan university today and arrested a rapper who had barricaded himself inside to avoid a controversial nine-month jail sentence. 

Pablo Hasel, who is known for his radical leftist views, had locked himself inside the campus in Lerida, near Barcelona with over 50 supporters the previous day. 

The musician was convicted in 2018 for glorifying terrorism, slander and libel after he attacked the monarchy and accused police of killing and torturing immigrants in a string of tweets.  

Hasel, whose real name is Pablo Rivadulla, was given until Friday night to turn himself in to begin serving his nine-month sentence imposed under a security law known in Spain as the ‘gag law’. 

But after a 24-hour standoff between police and the rapper, riot police officers arrested Hasel and he was escorted out of Lleida University’s rectorate building.   

Dozens of Spanish riot police stormed a Catalan university today and arrested rapper Pablo Hasel who had barricaded himself inside to avoid a controversial nine-month jail sentence.

After a 24-hour standoff between police and the rapper, riot police officers arrested Hasel and he was escorted out of Lleida University’s rectorate building

Hasel is detained and taken to a police car outside the University of Lleida today

A demonstrator in support of Hasel adds a table to a barricade set up to block the door of the rectory of Lleida University

March 27 2014: ‘The police kill 15 immigrants and they are little saints. The people defend themselves from their brutality and we are “violent terrorists, trash, etc”.’

October 30 2015: ‘Detained in Galicia for “glorifying terrorism” that is, for saying that one has to fight against the fascist State.’ 

December 7 2015: If it’s true that the people love the monarchy as much as the mercenary tv pundits say, let them let the royal family loose in the streets without bodyguards. 

‘One more year with the mafioso and medieval monarchy insulting our intelligence and divinity with public monies. Incredible.’ 

December 25 2015: ‘The f***ing mafioso king giving lessons from the palace, he’s a millionaire thanks to other people’s misery. Brand Spain.’

January 21 2016: ‘The Spanish Kingdom’s friends bombing hospitals while Juan Carlos goes whoring with them.’ 

February 7 2016: ‘The police that jailed people under Franco and that now jail people as judges of the Nazi-onal Court.’ 

March 7 2016: ‘The police sow racism and harvest rage. Who’s surprised?’ 

March 16 2016: ‘The police are racist with immigrants and when they receive a blow in response, act like they’re the victims. Same old story as always.’

March 17 2016: ‘When the police use their weapons against the oppressors and not the oppressed, then you can start telling us that they are our allies.’ 

March 24 2016: ‘No Guardia Civil agent paid for the 16 immigrants murdered by rubber bullets. Now call that democracy’

‘We will win, they will not bend us with all their repression, never!’ the 32-year-old rapper said as he passed TV news cameras. 

A Catalan police spokesman told AFP that officers entered the university early Tuesday ‘to enforce the judicial ruling’ on his arrest.

Police in riot gear removed chairs, garbage bins and other objects that had been set up as barricades to reach the spot where the singer was barricaded with his supporters.

Hasel was found in 2018 to have encouraged violence and insulted the monarchy for his lyrics and tweets, which included references to banned guerrilla groups, compared a court to Nazis and called former king Juan Carlos a mafia capo.  

In one tweet from 27 December 2015, Hasel said: ‘If it’s true that the people love the monarchy as much as the mercenary tv pundits say, let them let the royal family loose in the streets without bodyguards.

‘One more year with the mafioso and medieval monarchy insulting our intelligence and divinity with public monies. Incredible.’

In another tweet posted on 7 February 2016, he said: ‘The police that jailed people under Franco and that now jail people as judges of the Nazi-onal Court.’

His case sparked demonstrations in Madrid and Barcelona with his supporters protesting against the rapper’s jailing and has even been linked to the government’s sudden announcement that it is changing the security law. 

Over 200 artists have signed a petition demanding his release, including film director Pedro Almodovar, Hollywood actor Javier Bardem and folk singer Joan Manuel Serrat.   

Hasel had previously said that he will not turn himself in. 

‘I refuse to go of my own accord and knock on the prison door so they’ll just have to come and kidnap me,’ he told AFP on Friday. 

In a tweet on Monday, Hasel told his followers that he had barricaded himself inside a Catalan university to avoid his arrest.

‘I’m locked inside the University of Lleida with quite a few supporters so they’ll have to break in if they want to arrest me and put me in prison,’ the rapper said.  

Demonstrators protested against the arrest of Hasel today after he had locked himself inside the campus in Lerida, near Barcelona with over 50 supporters the previous day

The musician was convicted in 2018 for glorifying terrorism, slander and libel after he attacked the monarchy and accused police of killing and torturing immigrants in a string of tweets. Pictured: Protesters gathered outside the Lleida University yesterday 

Pablo Hasel (pictured yesterday) barricaded himself inside a Catalan university to avoid arrest on Monday

Last week, Spain’s left-wing coalition government unexpectedly 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.

Government spokeswoman Maria Jesus Montero said that in response to the Hasel case, the government had ‘expressed its willingness to provide a much more secure framework for freedom of expression’. 

The reform was in its early stages, she said. 

In a statement, the government said the reform would introduce milder penalties rather than prison, and target only actions that ‘clearly involve the creation of a risk to public order or provoke some kind of violent conduct’. 

FILE: A supporter of Spanish rap singer Pablo Hasel gestures during a protest, after Hasel was sentenced for glorifying terrorism and insulting the crown in Madrid, Spain, on February 6

Supporters of Spanish rap singer Pablo Hasel take part in a protest, after Hasel was sentenced to jail time on charges of glorifying terrorism and insulting the crown in Madrid on February 6

Hasel said in a tweet the government was doing nothing to prevent his imprisonment. 

‘With empty declarations like so many other false promises, they want to extinguish solidarity,’ he wrote. 

The 2015 law was enacted by a previous, rightwing government, which said it was needed to prevent the glorification of banned armed groups such as the Basque separatists ETA. 

It bans speech not only for glorifying violence, but also for insulting religions or the monarchy.

Dozens of people take part in a protest in front of the Spanish Government’s headquarters to condemn the imprisonment of Spanish rapper Pablo Hasel on January 30, 2021

Opponents say it has been applied far too restrictively, imposing criminal penalties on legitimate criticism of the state. 

Amnesty International says around 70 people were convicted under the law in 2018 and 2019. 

Hasel’s 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.       

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