February 26, 2021

Hasel Prison Encourages Legal Reforms for Speech Crimes


Barcelona, ​​Feb 16 (EFE) .- The Mossos d’Esquadra today arrested rapper Pablo Hasel, already in prison to serve a 9-month sentence for exalting terrorism, in a case that has led the Government to promote reforms so that crimes of expression do not carry prison sentences if there is no risk to people.

In a large police device, which has been settled without incident, the Mossos have arrested Pau Rivadulla Duró, known as Pablo Hasel, at 08:25 hours this Tuesday, in the rector of the University of Lleida, where he was locked up yesterday together dozens of followers to make his arrest more difficult.

The rapper has been transferred to the Ponent prison, in Lleida, where he has been admitted to the admissions module, waiting for him to be evaluated in the next few days by the technicians who must propose his prison classification.

Although it is usual for inmates who are not considered dangerous to be initially classified in second degree, pending further progression, nothing prevents Hasel from directly accessing semi-release, which would allow him to leave prison on a daily basis and only return to sleep, Monday through Thursday.

Hasel has been imprisoned to serve a 9-month sentence imposed by the National Court in 2018 for glorifying terrorism, for praising ETA and the Grapo on Twitter in 2014, and which was ratified by the Supreme Court. The initial sentence was two years, although the Court lowered it to nine months because both terrorist organizations were no longer active.

In the same case, Hasel was sentenced to a € 24,300 fine for insults to the crown and the security forces.

When ratifying the penalties, the Supreme Court alleged that freedom of expression cannot be used as an “umbrella” or “blank check” to promote and extol terrorist activities, and concluded that the rapper’s disqualifications of the king and the security forces were not freedom of expression, but “hatred and attacks on honor.”

The National Court yesterday rejected Hasel’s last resort to avoid his imprisonment, arguing that suspending the execution of the sentence would be “totally unjustified” and “absolutely discriminatory with respect to other criminals”, taking into account his “criminal record”. after which he ordered the Mossos his arrest and entry into prison.

And it is that, in addition to this sentence of nine months in prison, Hasel accumulates other sentences: the first, of two years in prison for exalting in his songs the terrorism of ETA, the Grapo, Terra Lliure or Al Qaeda, is from 2014, although the National Court decided in 2019 to leave it on hold.

He adds two more sentences, both firm and handed down in 2018, for trespassing and resistance and disobedience to authority.

He was also sentenced last year to six months in jail for attacking a TV3 journalist who was covering a student confinement at the University of Lleida and two and a half years for attacking a witness in a trial, sentences not yet final, while he is awaiting trial for attacking the mossos guarding the headquarters of the Government Subdelegation in Lleida in a protest over the arrest of Carles Puigdemont in Germany.

Hasel’s imprisonment has led the Government to consider a legal reform to lessen the penalties for so-called “crimes of opinion”: the First Vice President of the Government, Carmen Calvo, has recognized today that in the freedom of expression of “artistic and cultural reflections and intellectuals “there must be a” fork of understanding and tolerance “typical of a” mature democracy “.

Calvo recalled that the Government has launched a reform of this type of crime, since it considers that the prison sentence “does not apply” in the case of infractions derived from this right that “do not entail a risk to the safety of people “.

For its part, United We Can has announced that it will ask the Ministry of Justice for a pardon for Hasel, to prevent the legal reform that Congress is already processing to avoid this type of sentence from arriving late.

According to the purple party, a partner with the PSOE in the Pedro Sánchez government, the arrest and imprisonment of the rapper prevents it from being able to speak of full democratic normality in Spain.

The Government has also denounced that Hasel’s arrest is “one more example of the involution of rights in Spain”, which has gone “to the extent of locking a rapper in jail for the lyrics of his songs,” according to the Councilor for the Presidency, Meritxell Budó, who has accused the State of “repressing” all those who say “what they don’t like to hear.”

From the social sphere, the organization for the defense of human rights Amnesty International Spain has expressed “its absolute outrage” at the “terrible news” of the arrest of Catalan rapper Pablo Hasel, since it considers “unfair” that he goes to prison because it it is “strictly linked” to the exercise of their freedom of expression.

Associations, artists and entities from the Catalan cultural world have also expressed their rejection and outrage at the arrest of Catalan rapper Pablo Hasel, which is why protest rallies have been called for this afternoon in various Catalan towns.

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