Spain: Rapper Pablo Hasel taken to prison after police enter university
Spanish rapper Pablo Hasel is being held after barricading himself inside a university to avoid a prison term.
Catalan police entered the University of Lleida and arrested him a day after he arrived there with supporters.
Hasel is facing a nine-month jail term for glorifying terrorism and slandering the crown and state institutions over tweets and lyrics that attacked the monarchy and police.
He was due to hand himself in last week but defied the order.
Almost two hours after officers from the Mossos police force went in early on Tuesday, Hasel was led away calling out “death to the fascist state”.
Dozens of supporters had earlier built a barricade at the university in Lérida (Lleida in Catalan), 150km (90 miles) west of Barcelona. Pictures from the scene showed activists spraying fire extinguishers at police before he was arrested in the university rector’s building.
— CDRs de Lleida (@CDRsLleida) February 16, 2021
A spokesman for the Catalan police force told the AFP news agency that officers had entered the university “to enforce the judicial ruling”.
More than 200 artists, including film director Pedro Almodóvar and Hollywood star Javier Bardem, have signed a petition against his jailing.
Hasel had tweeted overnight that he would go to prison “with my head held high” if he was taken away. “We cannot allow them to dictate what we can say, what we can feel or what we can do,” he tweeted, adding that he had chosen not to go into exile abroad.
The Spanish government said last week it planned to reduce the penalty for “crimes of expression” such as the glorification of terrorism, hate speech and insults to the crown and religion, in cases that involve artistic or cultural activities. Besides attacks on the monarchy, Pablo Hasel’s tweets and lyrics accused police of torturing and killing demonstrators and migrants…..read more