Shortly following his concert at Primavera Trompetera festival on 25 May 2018 in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, Evaristo Páramos, former lead vocalist of La Polla Records and current singer of the band Gatillazo, was retained by the Spanish Civil Guard after shouting “policemen, you are sons of bitches”, while transitioning between songs, reported El Mundo.
The singer’s remarks were allegedly deemed a violation of the Organic Law for the Protection of Public Security, a 2015 law that is intended to prohibit language that presents a “lack of respect and consideration” towards police and other state authorities. Informally known as the “gag law”, this particular violation is considered to be a minor offense and is punishable with a fine ranging from 100-600 euros, according to El País.
However, other violations under this broad law are more serious. Most recently, Spanish rapper Valtonyc was sentenced to a three-and-a-half prison sentence based on charges of “grave insults to the Crown”, “glorification of terrorism and humiliation of its victims” and “threats” in his songs. He is just one of 13 other rappers who have faced prison sentences for their lyrics under this law.
The Spanish Civil Guard took to Twitter to clarify that Páramos had not been arrested or detained, but was merely notified of the complaint being made against him. The singer has acknowledged that he is “accustomed” to situations like the one that unravelled during the festival, reported El Mundo.
Spain ranked first as the country that violated freedom of musical expression the most in 2017 in Freemuse’s global monitoring of artistic freedom violations. For additional information on this silencing environment for artists in Spain and wider issues of artistic freedom of expression worldwide, read Freemuse’s recently published The State of Artistic Freedom 2018 report.