EXPLAINER: The tweets that landed Spanish rapper Pablo Hasel in jail

EXPLAINER: The tweets that landed Spanish rapper Pablo Hasel in jail
Since Hasel's jailing on Tuesday, Spain has seen nightly demonstrations which have deteriorated into running battles between police and protesters. Photo: Josep Lago/AFP
Spanish rapper Pablo Hasel was imprisoned this week over tweets praising convicted terrorists, although he was also sanctioned for accusing the police of torture and the Crown of corruption.

Since his jailing on Tuesday, Spain has seen nightly demonstrations which have deteriorated into running battles between police and protesters. 

At issue are more than 60 tweets published between 2014 and 2016 for which he was given a nine-month prison sentence for “glorification of terrorism” that was handed down in 2018. 

He was also fined some 25,000 euros ($30,000) for insults, libel and slander for tweets likening former king Juan Carlos I to a mafia boss and accusing police of torturing and killing demonstrators and migrants.

READ ALSO: Police arrest rapper holed up in Catalan university to avoid jail for tweets

GRAPO and ETA

“Demonstrations are necessary but not enough, we must support those who go further,” read one of his tweets, while another said he was “proud of those who reacted to police aggression”. 

On his Twitter account, the rapper paid homage to armed Spanish groups like GRAPO, a Marxist “anti-fascist resistance” organisation accused of around 1,000 acts of violence between 1975 and 2003, including 80 murders and attempted murders, and various kidnappings. 

At the time, his Twitter account had more than 54,000 followers. 

In one, he referred to a GRAPO militant shot dead by police in 1982, saying he was “murdered by the police for defending our rights”.

Hasel's tweets earned him a two-year jail sentence in 2014 for glorifying terrorism.

People hold a banner reading ” Pablo Hasel kidnapped by state terrorism. General amnesty!” during a demonstration against the imprisonment of Spanish rapper Pablo Hasel in Madrid. Photo: AFP

But he did not spend time behind bars because Spanish law says anyone receiving a jail term of up to two years on a first offence automatically has their sentence suspended. 

Hasel also tweeted about members of the now-defunct Basque separatist organisation ETA which during four decades of violence killed at least 853 people in a campaign of car bombings and shootings. 

READ ALSO: Protesters clash with Spanish police at rallies over rapper's arrest

'Police Nazis' 

Writing on Twitter, Pablo Hasel frequently accuses the Spanish security forces of torture and murder, using the term “Nazional Police” — a fusion of “national” and “Nazi”. 

“50 police wounded? These fucking mercenaries bite their tongues while beating up people then claim that they are injured,” he tweeted in 2014. 

“The Guardia Civil torturing and shooting migrants? That's democracy. Jokes about fascists? That's an apology for terrorism,” he wrote in another. 

'Death to the Bourbons'

Another favourite target is the Spanish Crown. 

For his most recent prison sentence, the judges flagged one of his songs called “Juan Carlos el Bobon” — or “Juan Carlos the idiot” — a play on the Bourbon lineage of the former king who served as monarch between 1975 to 2014. 

For his most recent prison sentence, the judges flagged one of his songs called “Juan Carlos el Bobon” — or “Juan Carlos the idiot”. Photo: AFP

Hasel also accuses the royal family of corruption and incest, suggesting “the guillotine” for one of the former monarch's daughters. He also released a song called “Death to the Bourbons,” although it was not flagged by the court. 

The rapper has also referred to the Spanish royal family as “fascists”, and described Juan Carlos as “a mafia boss” for his ties to the Saudi royals. 

He has also described Spain's current king, Felipe VI, as “a parasite”. 

 


Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.