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Spanish rapper refuses imprisonment, draws attention to gag law

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The artist, whose real name is Pablo Rivadulla Dur, is expected to serve a reduced sentence from 2018 to nine months in prison for tweets and songs he posted between 2014 and 2016 criticizing Spain’s royal family and praising a left-wing extremist group Spanish now destroyed.

I will not let them tell me what I have to think, feel or say, Hasl told the Associated Press late Monday. This serves as an additional incentive for me to continue writing the same songs.

Known primarily for his often radical anti-deployment criticisms, he has had previous convictions for attacks and praise of armed extremist groups even though he served no time behind bars after a previous 2-year prison was suspended.

This time his imprisonment seemed imminent. The National Court of Appeals issued an arrest warrant Monday after a 10-day period of voluntary incarceration on Friday.

But the artist said he would not go without showing resistance and drawing attention to his issue. On Monday, accompanied by about 50 supporters, Hasl barricaded himself inside the rectory building of Lleida University, in the northeastern region of Catalonia.

Police need special permission which in this case was given by the academic authorities to enter the university buildings, which have been the scene of protests in the past.

Undoubtedly, the rapper wrote on Twitter: They will have to come in to pick me up and imprison me.

He told the AP that Monday’s events were a call to organize our solidarity and take the pressure on the streets.

“There is a lot of solidarity from people who understand that this is not just an attack on me,” Hasl added. But also against our fundamental democratic freedoms. Freedoms that are constantly oppressed by the State. When faced with aggression against us we must give a collective response.

The Spanish left-wing coalition government suddenly announced last week that it would make changes to the country’s criminal code to eliminate prison terms for offenses involving freedom of expression. He did not specifically mention Hasl or set a timeline for the changes.

The proposal was rejected by the conservative opposition People’s Party and the far-right Vox party.

The changes to the code under a new Public Safety Act, known as the Gag Law, were made in 2015 by the then-ruling People’s Party government and have long been criticized by human rights groups and international organizations for possible restrictions on freedom. of expression in the name of defense state and religious institutions.

The imprisonment of Pablo Hasl leaves the sword hanging over the heads of all public figures who dare to openly criticize the actions of even more visible state institutions, reads the artists’ petition.

We are aware that if we allow Pablo to be imprisoned, tomorrow they may come after any of us, until they manage to silence any sigh of dissent, he added.

The Spanish branch of Amnesty International has also defended Hasl and urged the government to introduce legal changes. In a statement last week, the international rights campaign group noted other social media users, journalists and artists who have been similarly convicted in the past.

Expressions that do not clearly and directly incite violence cannot be criminalized, said AI branch director Esteban Beltrn.

Ciarn Giles and Aritz Parra in Madrid also contributed.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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