07 April 2021: Today, Freemuse, PEN Català and PEN International launch a manifesto with 18 MEPs to support the protection of artistic freedom in Spain and release rapper Pablo Hasél.
The manifesto urges the Spanish government to reform the Criminal Code to align with international human rights standards and call for the reform of the Law on the Protection of Public Security (gag law). In July 2019, Freemuse, PEN Català and PEN International submitted a joint report to the UN’s UPR process outlining serious concerns relating to the rights of freedom of expression, information, and peaceful assembly in Spain. The report found that the 2015 Law on the Protection of Public Security and the reformed Criminal Code are unduly restricting expression in the name of national security.
On 16 February 2021, Hasél was imprisoned over charges relating to his song lyrics and public comments through 64 tweets. Hasél has been sentenced to nine months in prison and a 30,000 euro fine under the charges of “glorification of terrorism”, aggravating recidivism for “insults and slanders against the Crown and the use of the picture of the King” and for “insults and slanders against state institutions”. His imprisonment is the most recent in Spain under these charges that directly affect freedom of artistic expression. Imprisoning rapper Hasél for his peaceful artistic expression through his songs violates Spain’s international obligation to respect freedom of artistic expression.
This manifesto is a concrete action to safeguard the space for artists to live without fear of repercussions in Spain.
Read the full manifesto here.
Freemuse (freemuse.org) is an independent international non-governmental organisation advocating for freedom of artistic expression and cultural diversity. Freemuse has United Nations Special Consultative Status to the Economic and Social Council (UN-ECOSOC) and Consultative Status with UNESCO.
Freemuse operates within an international human rights and legal framework which upholds the principles of accountability, participation, equality, non-discrimination and cultural diversity. We document violations of artistic freedom and leverage evidence-based advocacy at international, regional and national levels for better protection of all people, including those at risk. We promote safe and enabling environments for artistic creativity and recognise the value that art and culture bring to society. Working with artists, art and cultural organisations, activists and partners in the global south and north, we campaign for and support individual artists with a focus on artists targeted for their gender, race or sexual orientation. We initiate, grow and support locally owned networks of artists and cultural workers so their voices can be heard and their capacity to monitor and defend artistic freedom is strengthened.