A Spanish rapper, sentenced to a controversial prison sentence for tweets attacking the monarchy and the police, assured Monday that he had barricaded himself in a university in order to prevent his arrest by the police. “I am locked in the University of Lleida” in Catalonia (northeast) “with enough people united. They will have to use force to enter, arrest me and imprison me”, wrote Pablo Hasel on his account Twitter.
Contacted by AFP, a spokeswoman for the University of Lleida confirmed that the rapper was on the university campus with “about 20 people supporting him” while ensuring that the situation was calm and that the police did not was not at the scene.
This rapper had until Friday evening to voluntarily go to prison and start serving his nine-month sentence there for tweets in which he described in particular the Spanish police as “shitty mercenaries”, accused them of torture and assassinations and also attacked the monarchy. “They will have to come and kidnap me and it will also serve to portray the state in its true face, that of a fake democracy,” he told AFP by phone on Friday.
Several sometimes tense demonstrations in support of the rapper have taken place in recent weeks in Madrid and Barcelona, while more than 200 personalities from the Spanish-speaking cultural world, including director Pedro Almodóvar and actor Javier Bardem, have signed a platform in his favor.
The affair has become a real thorn in the side of the left government and especially of its main component, the Socialist Party. On the defensive, the executive promised last Monday “a reform” so that “verbal excesses committed in the context of artistic, cultural or intellectual events” do not fall under criminal law and no longer result in prison sentences.
The case of Pablo Hasel recalls that of another Spanish rapper, Valtonyc. The latter had gone into exile in Belgium in May 2018 after confirmation of his sentence in Spain to three and a half years in prison for “apologizing for terrorism” and the Basque separatist group ETA, “insults to the Crown” and “threats” in his songs.
He has since been targeted by a European arrest warrant, issued by the Spanish courts. In September 2018, a court in Ghent rejected the execution of the warrant. The proceedings are still pending before an appeal court.