Pablo Hasel: Protests in Catalonia for rapper arrest in university stalemate

Hasel and his supporters have barricaded themselves within Lledia University, in the capital of the northeastern province of Lleida, near Barcelona, ​​since Monday after their deadline to surrender after being convicted in a free speech case has expired.

On Tuesday, the Catalan riot police raided the university and arrested Hasel. The prison video shows a challenger Hasel shouting, “You will never defeat us! You will never defeat us, we will resist until we are victorious.”

Hasel had until last Friday to surrender to the police after Spain’s Supreme Court in May 2020 upheld the conviction of a first instance court in March 2018 against the rapper, whose full name is Pablo Rivadulla Duro.

The conviction was for supporting terrorism and also for defamation and slander against the Spanish monarchy, through their messages on social media, according to a copy of the court’s sentence and a note from the Supreme Court’s press office about it. He was sentenced to nine months in prison.

The 70-page Supreme Court ruling said that the rapper published tweets from 2014 to 2016 “that denigrated several institutions while devoting phrases that glorify certain people convicted of terrorism.

Protesters march with a photo of Hasel reading "Freedom for Pablo."

The phrase, read by CNN, said that the rapper “had more than 54 thousand followers on his Twitter profile when publishing tweets” and that the authorities “found 1,915 tweets in which the terms GRAPO, Monarquia, Rei, ETA, appear, Terrorism, Bomb, Police and Civil Guard. ”

GRAPO is the banned Marxist paramilitary group, the first anti-fascist resistance group in October. ETA was the Basque armed group, listed as a terrorist group by Spain and the European Union, which killed more than 800 people in its long and unsuccessful struggle for Basque independence.

On Monday, Hasel tweeted: “I stayed here without exiling myself to contribute more to the dissemination of the message, to the mobilization and especially to the organization. They arrested me head on for not giving in to their terror, for having contributed my grain of sand to what I mentioned. We can all do that. “

Amid the protests on Tuesday night, Mossos (the Catalan police force) said on Twitter: “In Girona, a group of people with a violent attitude burned several containers and threw stones and pyrotechnic material against the police in the Sub-Delegation area. “Mossos also said that a group of people set fire to a bank in Girona and removed several road signs.

The rapper reacts alongside police officers before being arrested on Tuesday.
Hasel supporters barricaded the University of Lleida on Monday.

On Friday, Hasel tweeted a statement saying “at 8 pm the deadline for voluntarily entering prison ends. It would be an unworthy humiliation to walk on your own before such an unfair sentence, so they will have to come and kidnap me.”

He added: “More mobilizations were called when they arrested me.”

“If you respond forcefully they will think twice before arresting others for reporting the culprits of the policies we have suffered and it is possible to get me out of there. If we do not push the state on the repressive and other levels, we will be lost. Much more and that, it is time to say enough and go to the street “, continues the statement.

Amnesty International in Spain tweeted on Tuesday: “Pablo Hasel going to prison is UNJUST. We will not stop until the crimes of the Penal Code that limit artistic expression are lifted. Cases like this cannot be repeated ”.

The Supreme Court press release, referring to Hasel’s sentence, said that “freedom of expression has its limits” and “is conditioned by other constitutional rights and demands”.

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