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Spain: Rapper Sentenced for Criticising the State

The Catalan communist rapper and activist Pablo Hasél has been sentenced for songs and statements criticising the Spanish Royal Family and the state. On the 28th of January he was given ten days to present himself for imprisonment. 

Hasél, who has earlier been sentenced for incitement to terror, is now facing five years in prison. He is this time accused of defamation against the spanish Royal House and the Spanish State and incitement to hate crime and terrorism. The prosecuting authorities have asked for two years of imprisonment and a fine of 40.500 euro, or three years of imprisonment without a fine. His earlier sentence of two years will be added to this.

Hasél says the sentence is political and that he neither regrets his lyrics or his tweets. When he received the sentence he stated that he would have done the same again and on the same evening he also republished several of the tweets he had been sentenced for.

In the song Juan Carlos el Bobón (Juan Carlos the Idiot) Spain’s former King is called a drunkard and a swindler, and about fraud convicted Princess Cristina the lyrics says that half the country wants her in a guillotine and that Royal Family’s days are numbered. Hasél is charged on the basis of this song lyric and more than sixy tweets. In one of the tweets he writes that “demonstrations are necessary, but not enough, we support those who have gone even further”. Together with references to militant groups the court interprets this as incitement to violence and terrorism. 

The clip in the start of the music video is from when Juan Carlos in 1969 was asked about what Franco represented for him personally, and he answered that he every day was an example for his patriotic performance in the service of Spain, and that he therefore had great devotion and admiration for him.

Pablo Hasél has since 2011 been harassed by the Spanish State. There was reactions towards the content in several of his YouTube-videos, like that someone should put an ice-axe to the head of the PSOE politician José Bono  and that Patxi López (also PSOE) deserved to get his car blown up. PSOE is the social-democratic party in Spain, and has since the Franco era been one of two prominent parties  together with the conservative PP.

Hasél has in addition been sentenced for praising assassinations done in the 70s and onward, by organisations like the Basque ETA, the Spanish anti-fascist group GRAPO under the leadership of the Marxist-Leninist Party, the German Red Army Faction (RAF) and the Catalan speratist group Terra Lliure. Hasél was arrested for this in 2011 og placed in custody for a month. The police ransacked his home and confiscated books and hard-drives, which ended with him being senteced for “incitement to terrorism” in 2014. 

 Pablo Hasél is not alone!

Back then there was directed much attention towards the case and the unreasonable treatment caused strong reactions. Hasél received large support on social media, and several Spanish artists got involved in getting him acquitted. Also now he has large support. Among others by Llibertat Pablo Hasel in several platforms shares about the case and encourages people to protest and to solidarity actions. They have made slogans for banners and graffiti available, and posters and flyers that they have asked people to download and hang up in their neighbourhoods, campuses and workplaces.

Hasél has gotten support from a number of artists. Grup Yorums Solidarity Comitee has published a video and support statement on their Facebook page Free Grup Yorum:

https://fb.watch/3wGoz4pgNq/

“PABLO HASEL IS NOT ALONE!

OUR REVOLUTIONARY SONGS CANNOT BE BANNED!

Our friend and revolutionary musician Pablo Hasel has been ordered on Thursday 28th to enter prison in 10 days by the Spanish state for a sentence of 2+ years. Since 2011, when he was first arrested, Pablo has been targeted by the state because of his revolutionary songs. It is also not the first attack on artists in Spain in recent times, musician Valtonyc had to leave and go into exile because of similar reasons.

Pablo has made songs about Grup Yorum, about the revolutionary struggle in Turkey, and has stood beside Yorum on stage in concerts where thousands took part. He exposed the injustices in his country, imperialism, and the oppressions of fascism with his revolutionary songs.

Being an artist is not just singing, but telling your people the injustices in the world with your songs and calling them to struggle. To be an artist of the people is to lead this struggle, and Pablo is part of this struggle for a better world. We know that Pablo will not bow down and will continue this fight.

We call on all socialist, progressive, democratic, revolutionary artists to show solidarity with Pablo Hasel.

Those who make the songs of a nation are stronger than those who make its laws!

Freedom for Pablo Hasel!

#LibertadPabloHasel #FreePabloHasel”

The Kurdish-Turkish folk music group Grup Yorum has themselves experienced extreme political persecution from the State because of their music, and have made great sacrifices for their right to play music for the people. They have defied concert bans, imprisonment and torture. Two of their members, Helin Bölek and İbrahim Gökcek died after a hunger-strike in 2020. The police even harassed their funeral service. It is clear that the State sees that revolutionary music has great influence on people, and goes long lengths to prevent it.

Freemuse, an organisation for freedom to artistic expression and cultural diversity, state in their annual reports that an ever-increasing number of artists are persecuted, threatened, censored, harassed, imprisoned and murdered because of their art. They also point out that this trend is also moving closer to us. In Norway, chanting “Fuck the Police” led by the rapper Kamelen was too much. He was arrested and in 2020 he was sentenced for insulting a police officer. This overreaction is probably due to several things, but one thing is clear that the police doesn’t benefit by letting the discontent bloom freely, and they view it as an even greater threat when the audience is influenced. 

The sentence has also led to large protests and concerts in a number of cities. 

Mataró

Bilbao 

Xixón

Madrid

https://www.abc.es/play/television/noticias/abci-radicales-antifascistas-agreden-telemadrid-protesta-apoyo-pablo-hasel-202102062225_video.html
Listen to Pablo Hasél:

Indomable

Comunista

Desesperacón

Muerte a los Borbones

When he published the new song Nuestras Libertades on February the 7th he stated that he will use his last days of freedom to write songs and publish tweets that condemn injustice and the guilty.

Since this article was published in Norwegian Pablo Hasél has been arrested which has led to demonstrations and riots in several cities in Catalonia and Spain. Our comrades in the Communist International have published an article in English on the demonstrations titled The Masses Explode

Here are the songs he published before getting arrested on Tuesday 16th of February: