Spanish Rapper Arrested After Police Raid University
Dozens of Spanish police officers raided a university Feb. 16 searching for a rapper who was given a jail sentence on charges of glorifying terrorism and insulting royalty in his songs. The police found the rapper barricaded inside the university and arrested him.
Pablo Hasel, whose real name is Pablo Rivadulla, missed the deadline to turn himself into police by Feb. 12 and serve a nine-month jail sentence. Hasel and multiple supporters barricaded themselves inside Lleida University in northeast Spain.
Hasel and his supporters had a brief confrontation with the police when they arrived, throwing chairs and spraying fire extinguishers before officers carrying guns and wearing protective headgear apprehended Hasel.
The rapper was known for radical-left views, and was convicted in 2018 for references to Basque separatist paramilitary group ETA, comparing Spanish judges to Nazis and calling former king Juan Carlos a mafia boss.
Hasel’s sentence caused a large uproar in Spain. Over 200 well- known Spanish artists signed a petition to free Hasel, including film director Pedro Almodovar, actor Javier Bardem and singer Joan Manuel Serrat.
This commotion led the government to make free speech laws less restricting.
The morning he was arrested, the rapper re-tweeted all of the tweets he was convicted for.
Before his arrest, the rapper claimed he was trying to “raise awareness of what is happening.”
“This is a very serious attack on our freedoms, not just on me,” he said.
When he was being taken into custody, he raised his fist in the air and shouted, “Victory will be ours… There will be no forgetting and no forgiving.”
Since his arrest, protests have broken out in the streets of Barcelona.