Protest for Spanish rapper’s freedom as he attempts to avoid prison

A couple of hundred students demonstrated outside Lleida University on Monday in support of a Spanish rapper sentenced to jail time on charges including insulting the monarchy and praising terrorist groups.

Pablo Hasel who on Monday barricaded himself inside a university in northeastern Spain with a group of supporters had until last Friday to surrender and serve his nine-month sentence.

His case has caused an uproar across Spain and led the government to announce it would ease restrictions on free speech, even if not in his particular case.

"Either we have an overwhelming and organized response to these severe attacks from the state or they will keep cutting our most fundamental rights and freedoms. We have to stop this," said Hasel, who is known for his radical leftist views.

Hasel’s lyrics and tweets, which included references to banned guerrilla groups, compared a court to Nazis and called former king Juan Carlos a mafia boss, were found by a court to have encouraged violence and insulted the monarchy.

He and around 20 supporters used a chain with a padlock to shut the main entrance to one of the buildings of Lleida university in the region of Catalonia where they took refuge. Police have yet to show up.

One Hasel supporter who was at the protest called the court decision "absurdly medieval".

Hasel has said despite the prospect of jail time he would do it all over again.

"I won’t allow them to dictate what I should think, feel or do, so I continue with the same message which has a prison sentence and it will always be like this, because disobeying unfair sentences is the only way to move forward in the struggle to achieve change," he said.

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Source: Global News

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