On 28 January 2021, Spanish rapper Pablo Hasél received a judicial order giving him ten days to voluntarily enter prison for “glorifying terrorism” and “insulting the Spanish crown” in his songs.
“Imprisoning rapper Pablo Hasél for his peaceful artistic expression through his songs violates Spain’s international obligation to respect freedom of artistic expression under Article 19 of the ICCPR,” said Dr Srirak Plipat, Freemuse Executive Director. “Freemuse, therefore, calls for all charges against Pablo Hasél to be dropped and for the Spanish authorities to safeguard the space for artists and everyone to express themselves without fear of repercussions.”
In his statement published on Twitter, Hasél said that he will not appear in prison voluntarily and that:
“[…]I don’t know to which prison I have been assigned, nor for how long. Due to all my pending charges, I could spend up to 20 years in jail. I suffer this continued harassment not only because of my revolutionary songs but also because of my political militancy beyond music and writing.”
He further highlights that he considers his imprisonment not as an attack against him, but against freedom of expression.
Comunicado ante mi encarcelamiento inminente: pic.twitter.com/ymsJXW7V3l
— Pablo Hasel (@PabloHasel) January 28, 2021
In November 2020, the Constitutional Court did not admit Hasel’s defence appeal against the ruling from September 2018 sentencing him to nine months in prison for “glorification of terrorism” and “insulting the Spanish crown and its security forces”.
According to Euro Weekly News, in 2014, the Audiencia Nacional sentenced the rapper to two years in prison for “glorifying terrorism” in his songs’ lyrics. Hasél did not have to enter prison for acts between 2014 and 2016 if he does not commit other crimes.
Hasél talked to Freemuse in November 2019 about his experiences and his artwork.
Freemuse calls for all charges against Pablo Hasel to be immediately dropped and for the Spanish authorities to ensure the space for artists and everyone to express themselves freely.