Pablo Hasel has been jailed on charges of inciting terrorism, sparking unrest across parts of Catalonia. By Tim Baker, news reporter Saturday 27 February 2021 22:53, UK Violence has returned to the streets of Spain after a few days of tense calm following the arrest of a rapper. Bank windows were smashed in Barcelona and at least 10 people were arrested after peaceful marches turned violent, with similar scenes in other parts of the Catalonia region. Officers also said they apprehended a group trying to set a police van on fire. Arrests were made after bank windows were smashed. Pic: AP
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It comes after rapper Pablo Hasel was taken into custody on 16 February to serve a nine-month prison sentence. The charges he faced include inciting terrorism - he had praised defunct groups who were responsible for killing more than 1,000 people in Spain - as well as refusing to pay fines for insulting the country's former king. Violence was seen following his arrest across Catalonia for more than week and more than 100 people were arrested during demonstrations. Thousands of people had taken to the streets of Barcelona. Pic: AP
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tensions had eased over the past few days but Saturday saw a return to the lawlessness Spain's government has pledged to get rid of prison offences for incidents involving freedom of speech. --- Pablo Rivadulla Duró (born 9 August 1988), known artistically as Pablo Hasél, is a Catalan rapper, writer, poet, and political activist. His songs and actions, often in support of far-left politics, have frequently led him into troubles with the Spanish judiciary. Accused of insulting the Spanish monarchy, insulting the Spanish army and police forces, and praising terrorism and banned groups, he has been imprisoned since 16 February 2021 on a nine-month sentence, in what has widely been labeled an attack on free speech – in Catalonia, Spain, and overseas – and led to numerous protests and riots. In March 2018, Hasél was sentenced to two years in prison for praising GRAPO terrorism and insulting King Juan Carlos I on Twitter. In early 2021, he was ordered to voluntarily enter prison to serve a nine-month sentence for this conviction. He publicly refused this order, and was eventually arrested on 16 February. Hasel, alongside a group of over 50 students, had barricaded himself inside University of Lleida's rectorate building in protest against his sentence. Hasél's freedom was supported by Amnesty International and a letter signed by 300 Spanish artists including Pedro Almodóvar and Javier Bardem, as well as by President of Mexico Andrés Manuel López Obrador, former Bolivian President Evo Morales and Venezuela's president Nicolás Maduro. Hasél's imprisonment led to nights of protests involving thousands of people in cities including Valencia, Madrid and Barcelona. Hasél's case has been likened to that of Valtònyc, another Spanish rapper prosecuted by the Spanish judiciary, who fled to Belgium in 2018 after a 31⁄2-year prison sentence for writing song lyrics that a court found glorified terrorism and insulted the monarchy. PEN Català published a communiqué - in collaboration with the Catalan Academy of Music, the Association of Catalan Language Writers, the Association of Periodicals in Catalan, Editors.cat, the Fira Literal, Freemuse, the Catalan Publishers' Guild, Llegir en català, Òmnium; in defense of freedom of expression and for the release of Hasél. In the days after his arrest, a wave of protests occurred in cities across Catalonia and the rest of Spain. Damages in Barcelona were estimated at €1.5 million. Violence was reported in several cities. More than 100 people were detained, several injured, a Reuters-journalist and a 19-year-old girl, who lost an eye, were among those when officers fired rubber bullets into the crowd. ---...