EXPLAINER: Why Spaniards are rioting over rapper's jailing
Rap singer Pablo Hasl is detained by police officers at the University of Lleida, Spain, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Joan Mateu)MADRID – Riots broke out in many Spanish cities this week during freedom of speech protests over the jailing of a little-known rapper for insulting the Spanish monarchy and praising terrorism. Up to a few weeks ago, Hasél, 32, was not quite a household name in Spain. Besides his tweets and lyrics, he has also been charged for assault, obstructing justice and breaking and entry. The law has been used against other rappers and tweeters — even puppeteers.
Spain: Protests erupt after rapper's insults lead to prison
Rap singer Pablo Hasl is detained by police officers at the University of Lleida, Spain, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. A 24-hour standoff between police and Spanish rapper Pablo Hasél ended Tuesday when anti-riot officers arrested the artist shortly after dawn and escorted him out of Lleida University’s rectorate building. He and more than 50 supporters locked themselves inside the university in Spain’s northeastern Catalonia region at midday on Monday. Hasél was sent to prison, where he's set to serve a 9-month sentence for insulting the monarchy and glorifying terrorism. The rapper had refused last week to voluntarily respond to a summons to show up for prison.
Spanish rapper rejects imprisonment, draws focus to gag law
Rap singer Pablo Hasl sits inside the University of Lleida, Spain, Monday, Feb. 15, 2021. The case of Pablo Hasél, 32, has drawn increasing attention in Spain and has been linked to the government's sudden announcement to change a national law that is deemed to curtail freedom of expression. Over 200 artists, including film director Pedro Almodóvar and actor Javier Bardem, signed a petition last week in support of the rapper. On Monday, accompanied by some 50 supporters, Hasél barricaded himself inside the rectoral building of Lleida University, in the northeastern Catalonia region. The Spanish branch of Amnesty International has also defended Hasél and urged the government to introduce legal changes.