Rapper imprisoned for insulting Spanish king

Pablo Hasél was imprisoned for two years under the charges of “glorification of terrorism” after calling Spain’s king a gangster on Twitter.

  • 3 years ago
  • August 19, 2021
"The voice cannot be closed off." Painted by @cinta_vidal From Pablo Hasel's Instagram, pablohaseloficial. The painting depicts the Spanish King buffing a mural calling for Pablo Hasel's freedom.
Interview Subject
Pablo Rivadulla Duró is 33 years old and goes by the stage name Pablo Hasel. Of Catalan origin, he writes and sings protest rap songs. He was born in Lerida, a Spanish city and the capital of the homonymous province.

Hasel’s lyrics and tweets on social media led to a two-year prison sentence for glorifying terrorism, which had been suspended. When he continued to speak out, the original sentence was imposed and he was arrested.

Catalan News shared a number of the tweets he wrote that reflect the language that landed him in prison.
The Spanish royal family comprises the person who holds the Crown (who holds the title of King or Queen of Spain as appropriate), his consort, daughters, and parents. After the 2014 succession process, its size was reduced to six members: King Felipe VI, his wife (Queen consort Letizia), his daughters (Leonor, Princess of Asturias and Infanta Sofía), and his parents. (King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia).

The CIS (Center for Sociological Research) has not asked about the monarchy in its surveys for more than six years. In October 2020, in the absence of an assessment of the Crown by the body, 16 independent media conducted a survey on this matter: 40.9 percent of Spaniards said they would support the republic in a possible referendum compared to 34.9 percent who would opt for the monarchy.

In 2021, the Spanish royal family has faced severe criticism as King Felipe VI’s father, who is former King Juan Carlos, has faced multiple financial probes for his business dealings and has gone into exile. The King’s sisters sidestepped the process to expedite their COVID immunizations as the people struggle to get theirs. Many other issues have come up and some say the King simply protects his family.

LLEIDA, Spain It happened on February 17, 2021 when I was at the University of Lleida, just 150 kilometers (90 miles) from Barcelona [the cosmopolitan capital of northeastern Spain].

As dozens of witnesses watched, a tide of helmets and sticks flooded the corridors of the university. The police had come to arrest me.

I did not resist, and still, they verbally and physically attacked me as they escorted me to the patrol car. Love and support rang out from my peers and sympathizers.

The journey that day from the living room to the ground floor was terrifying and amazing at the same time. I experienced love and hate all at once, happening in unison.

Reporters and cameras added to the confusion and yet, I felt calm. That environment strengthened my resolve even more.

My name is Pablo Rivadulla Duró but my stage name is Pablo Hasél. I am a Spanish rapper who was put in prison for my lyrics; for speaking out against the royal family of Spain.

Spanish rapper Pablo Hasél jailed for “glorification of terrorism”

I am in prison for speaking my mind, while the members of the royal family of Spain remain free, despite all the atrocities they committed.

It seems unreal that in 2021 rulers can stop you from singing or that ideas can land you in jail.

The government accuses me of “exalting terrorism and insults to the Spanish Crown and state institutions.”

I fight for freedom. No one can dictate what we can say, feel, or do. The way I choose to speak is not politically correct but is freedom of expression.

I believe that right is being suppressed worldwide and is supplanted by politically correct opinions. It is essential to open your eyes. If they can take me prisoner, no citizen is truly free.

After my arrest, protests broke out in Spain, and not just for my liberation. People are raising their voices against the oppressors who do not see beyond their own needs; who conduct business for their benefit with public money; and who are stained with the sweat of taxpayers.

It is the people who spend their lives working from sunrise to sunset for their future and the future of their families. I am furious to see how the people of my country are being abused and I am sad for what I consider to be an abuse of power and state terrorism.

Today, I am the judge who repudiates their immoral deeds.

Imprisoned but defiant

All of this began with our rulers, who set policies that disrupt the lives of the very people who have fed and welcomed the royal family for generations.

I am not proud of my actions, but I did the right thing. I stood up against the violation and abuse of the people.

Pablo expresses his thoughts through music and rhymes |@pablohaseloficial

On the other hand, I am proud to open the eyes of citizens who are anesthetized, distracted and unable to see the atrocities committed and still taking place. I will continue fighting to wake up my countrymen.

Confronting the powerful carries consequences and I am paying unjustly for that. I am not afraid of what they may do to me or to my name; I am more concerned about my people if they do not express themselves and rise up against tyranny.

Today, in prison, I find great emotional support from the letters that constantly arrive. I miss my family and loved ones but I am at peace with myself. Even from prison, I continue to fight.

I still do not understand how I am behind bars while the royal family throughout history has committed so many oppressive atrocities and crimes against humanity. 

Yet, despite being in jail, I feel freer than ever.

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