"I am explaining the truth and they want to put me in jail"


Pablo Hasél (real name Pablo Rivadulla) is a rapper and a pro-communist who performs “forbidden songs” which Spanish authorities believe glorify terrorism. Freemuse spoke to Hasél ahead of the MUR Festival in Palma de Mallorca.


The Spanish High Court (Audiencia Nacional) found the rapper guilty on the charge of “glorifying terrorism” in his songs and, therefore, breaching Article 578 of the Spanish Criminal Code.


While being sentenced to prison under existing anti-terror legislation, Hasél stays positive. He openly speaks about two sentences against him, citing the solidarity movement which supports him and his comrades as the reasons for his strength to fight his conviction. 


Hasél says his songs are inspired by and speak about real life.


 “The reality inspires my lyrics, and this is what I tell in the court in front of the judge–the reality. And if you want to prosecute me for the reality, it is like an inquisition,” Hasél said to Freemuse.


The artist alleges that his conviction and sentencing are part of a Spanish government strategy to silence political dissent.


“I try to encourage people to fight, to get organised in a revolutionary way to end the root of the problem, which is a Spanish state that I consider fascist because it did not break with fascism and because we have no democratic rights and freedoms such as freedom of expression. Otherwise, what is happening would not happen,” Hasél told Freemuse.


Despite the sentence, Hasél has no plans to leave Spain. He believes his message will be stronger if he stays.


“I thought about exile, but I finally decided to stay in the Spanish state because I think I can be more useful in spreading the message they want to silence. Because if they imprison me, the message will be much more widespread than if I choose exile,” Hasél said to Freemuse, “In addition, the most obvious proof that the state wants me to go into exile is that it allows me to leave. In fact, I went on a trip to two countries where I could go into exile: Belgium and Venezuela, and that means that if they allow me to leave the state knowing that there is a possibility that I may be exiled, they want me to choose exile.”


Freemuse has extensively covered the cases of violated Spanish rappers. For additional information on silencing environment for rappers in Spain and wider issues of artistic freedom of expression worldwide, read Freemuse’s The State of Artistic Freedom 2019 report.