Pablo Hasel is about to go to prison for the rhymes of his songs and for his tweets. The National Court ordered a week ago the rapper’s imprisonment to serve the sentence of 9 months and one day in prison to which the Supreme Court sentenced him in May 2020 for exalting terrorism and insults against the Crown and the institutions of the State. The magistrates gave him a period of 10 days to voluntarily surrender. But he will not: “I am not going to present myself voluntarily because faced with such an unjust sentence I would consider it a humiliation. It is already a matter of dignity not to go to prison on my own foot. So they will have to come and kidnap me wherever I am, what it will probably be at my address. ”
Interview with Pablo Hasél in Carne Cruda
Pablo Rivadulla Duro, known as Pablo Hasel, participated this Thursday in an event organized by MEP Clara Ponsatí (Junts), in which rapper Josep Valtònyc, who has been in Brussels since the spring of 2018 while it is being resolved, has also participated the Euro order requested against him for a sentence similar to that of Pablo Hasel; the lawyer Isabel Elbal; and other MEPs such as Diana Riba (ERC) and Pernando Barrena (EH Bildu), among others.
Hasel remembers that already in 2011 he suffered his first arrest and search at his home. “At that time I was living with my family,” he explains, “and the Spanish police took notebooks, cameras, T-shirts and even books from me because they were communist books, accused of what they call exaltation of terrorism for 20 songs. They took objects of mine, my computers, but also those of my parents and my brothers. I spent a night detained in the dungeon and they released me awaiting trial, in which they lost me two years in prison for the content of my songs “.
On that occasion, he did not go to prison because it was his first sentence and it did not exceed two years in prison. “The objective of these sentences is to restrict freedom of expression”, affirms the rapper, “and to use a few of us as scapegoats and so that the rest of the population is afraid when it comes to criticizing the monarchy, the bodies police or when it comes to showing solidarity with the political prisoners of the Spanish State “. Hasel refers, in this case, to Isabel Aparicio, who died in 2014 in the Zuera prison, about whom he tweeted that she had been “exterminated as a communist.”
That was one of the 64 tweets for which the National Court condemned him (and ratified the Supreme Court) when he had 54,000 followers, between 2014 and 2016: today he has more than double the number of followers on Twitter. His tweets also expressed solidarity with the former military chief of ETA, the late Joseba Arregi, of whom Hasel said that he was tortured by the police. When Hasel tweeted that, ETA and the GRAPO had long since disappeared,
“The Spanish State is the one with the most artists sentenced to prison,” says Hasel, “which shows that in the Spanish State there is no freedom of expression. Only the fascists have it to say any barbarity.”
Valtònyc, who participated in the act this Thursday, was sentenced by the Supreme Court for the crimes of glorifying terrorism, insults to the Crown and threats for the content of his songs for three and a half years. The Mallorcan rapper decided to go to Brussels to avoid jail. Will Hasel do the same? “I have thought about it and decided to stay here,” he says: “It will serve better to convey the message that the State intends to silence us because it is afraid, it will serve to take away their mask of a democratic State because cases like mine show that they are they are violating such fundamental democratic freedoms. Here, of course, there is no trace of democracy. If I left, they would remove a problem from their midst. This process is part of their strategy to try to bend me. ”
Hasel criticizes the attitude of the Government: “I do not expect anything from them, they are being accomplices of this imprisonment as well and therefore guilty. I am not going to ask for a pardon, I am not going to beg or my freedom, nor am I going to regret it because I have no nothing to regret. They have the power to free me. And they have done absolutely nothing, nor have they done anything to overturn the Penal Code with which they condemn us. That is why I do not expect absolutely anything from this so-called progressive government : If my freedom is won, it will be due to pressure from society. ”
The lawyer Isabel Elbal, in whose office they carry the defense of Valtònyc, that of a member of La Insurgencia and César Strawberry, among others, affirms that “freedom of expression protects precisely those expressions that are bland, that can disturb the power, who question the established system, of course, peacefully. This is what the fundamental right to freedom of expression means. ”
“In this context”, reflects Elbal, “it is curious that since these terrorist organizations no longer pose a danger to peaceful coexistence in Spain, it is when certain crimes of opinion begin to be activated by the authorities, be they police They are judicial, that in a very intense way. They are invoking inadmissible interference in the fundamental right to freedom of expression. What we call the discouragement effect is something that democratic societies have to avoid, because if there is a discouragement effect, an effect of self-censorship among citizens, what is seriously damaged is the democratic system. ”
Elbal points out that in both the Hasel and Valtònyc cases, “the jurisdiction for the prosecution of these crimes resides in the National Court, and the last word regarding the sentences handed down by the National Court is in the Supreme Court. to the highest jurisdictional instances in Spain, because they are the crime of insults against the king and the crime of terrorist exaltation in Spain “.
And, according to Elbal, “considering terrorist glorification of songs or lyrics or tweets supposes an absolute interference in the right to artistic creation and freedom of expression, because criminal law must be exercised from the beginning of minimal intervention, only if not there is no other option. We are before some magistrates in the National Court and the Supreme Court who are confusing the allegorical, exacerbated, exaggerated lyrics that characterize rap with reality; they are confusing reality with fiction. ”
Valtònyc abounds in this thesis: “They accuse us of wishing for death when this is obviously a lie. We make songs, we are all artists and accusing us of threatening is as absurd as saying that Nabokov is a pedophile. Or as when Esperanza Aguirre said about the architects that “they should be killed.” And then it was said that it was a joke and nothing happened, it only happened with the left. I am condemned for insults for saying that the Bourbons are thieves, and it is evident that they are. all the world”.
Valtònyc is waiting to see what the Belgian Constitutional Court decides on his extradition, after in the first instance the Belgian justice has given him reason in the sense that he understands that it is about freedom of expression. “I hope that he Constitutional follow the same path that they have followed in the first instance “, he maintains:” After the recent attacks that Belgium has suffered, they do not understand that a crime related to terrorism is being applied to me “.