Who is Pablo Hasél and why is he in jail?
His real name is Pablo Rivadulla Duró. He was born in the Catalan city of Lleida, 32 years ago.
He started rapping in 2005, first as Hasél, and later as Pablo Hasél.
Exaltation of terrorism
Fame came to him with the first conviction for exalting terrorism, in 2014. A crime that, as Magistrate Ignacio González Vega explains, does not exist in other countries that have not experienced, like Spain, decades of terror, with armed groups such as ETA:
“Here, in Spain, there is a sometimes hesitant jurisprudence on when we are in the presence of a crime and when not. And, later, it must also be said that the legislation is broader in terms of limits to freedom of expression than that of other countries. And I put, for example, simply the crime of glorifying terrorism and humiliating the victims, which there is not in the countries around us “.
To be known only on the scene Underground rap went on to grab headlines, to appear on TV and to be known by the general public.
These are some of the rhymes in his songs for which he was convicted.
Hasél was sentenced to two years in prison. The judges considered that “It is not admissible in the field of freedom of expression to incite violence, or to make hate speech”, “How is the praise or justification of terrorist actions and the desire for new actions by terrorist groups”.
The sentence was suspended, in 2019, as he had no criminal record.
In 2018, he had been sentenced again for exalting terrorism, to two years in prison, and to fines for insults to the Crown and State institutions, although the sentence was not yet final. The sentence was lowered to nine months, and ratified last June by the Supreme Court, with three votes in favor and two against.
These are some of the tweets for which he was convicted. In addition to a song, posted on YouTube.
According to the Spanish Supreme Court, “These expressions exceed the right to freedom of expression or opinion”.
The situation is different now and the sentence cannot be suspended. Hasél is a repeat offender and has already accumulated several convictions, not only for crimes of expression.
In June 2020, the rapper was sentenced to six months in prison for assaulting a journalist, physically and verbally. This same Thursday, two days after his admission to prison, while several Spanish cities were burning in protests demanding his release, the Lleida Court confirmed a sentence of two and a half years behind bars for obstruction of justice, threats and attempted aggression against a witness in a trial. Both sentences are not yet final.
Freedom of expression and reform of the Penal Code
His case has reopened the debate on the limits of freedom of expression in Spain. The government of socialists and United Podemos has already announced a reform of the Penal Code.
The National Court warns that decriminalizing the glorification of terrorism would mean a “vulnerability” for society and collide with the “overwhelming” social support for such actions to be punished.
Associations of judges and victims of terrorism have also shown their opposition.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.