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Why jailing a rapper puts the country in chaos

“Freedom for Pablo Hasél”. A week after the imprisonment of a Catalan rapper, the demonstrations of support do not weaken in Spain. Clashes with the police took place again in Barcelona on Monday, February 22. Since February 16, 109 protesters have been arrested in Catalonia.

The reason ? The imprisonment of rapper Pablo Hasél, 32, sentenced to nine months in prison for apologizing for terrorism after having addressed the king in a tweet Juan Carlos Ier of “mobster”, praised those involved in the attacks and accused the police of killing and torturing migrants and protesters.

After a barricade at the University of Lleida, in Catalonia, The rapper’s arrest has reactivated the debate on freedom of expression in Spain. Since then, there have been several demonstrations of support, often tense, in Madrid and Barcelona. At the same time, more than 200 personalities from the world of culture, including the director Pedro Almodovar and the actor Javier Bardem, signed a platform in his favor.

Who is Pablo Hasél?

Singing in relative anonymity in the face of the legal problems that led to his incarceration, Pablo Hasél is a provocative rapper with revolutionary texts who has become a symbol of part of Spanish opinion. His case led the government to promise a reform of the penal code so that the “excesses” of artists in the use of freedom of expression do not translate into prison sentences.

In these tweets he described the Spanish security forces in particular as “shit mercenaries”, accused them of torture and murder and also attacked the crown. The Catalan is one of the representatives of the independent and committed rap scene in Spain, close to certain extreme left movements.

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