On February 16, Tuesday, Catalan police raided the University of Lleida and forcefully arrested Spanish rapper and poet Pablo Hasel who was barricaded inside resisting his imminent arrest. Hasel, who was unwilling to surrender, locked himself inside the university and was guarded by his supporters. On January 27, the Spanish national court, Audiencia Nacional, served a notice to Hasel asking him to surrender within ten days to face imprisonment on charges of “glorifying terrorism, insulting the crown and state institutions”. Hundreds of people had mobilized around the University of Lleida in solidarity with Pablo Hasel.
🔴 Pablo Hasél se va a prisión pero con la cabeza alta.
— Llibertat Pablo Hasel (@LlibertatHasel) February 16, 2021
⏩No podem concretar encara el nombre d'efectius dels Mossos desplegats en l'operatiu dissenyat pel Departament @interiorcat per detenir, segrestar i entregar @PabloHasel a l'estat espanyol per al seu empresonament. Desenes d'antiavalots a la universitat.pic.twitter.com/N8IfDL3qBq
— Tsunami Repressiu (@repressiu) February 16, 2021
Pablo Rivadulla Duró, known as Pablo Hasel, is popular for his political songs and poems which are often critical of the Spanish authorities and the right-wing in the country. Since 2011, Hasel has been accused in several cases, including for allegedly ‘praising communist leaders’ and ‘terrorist groups’ in his work and tweets, attacking far-right groups, and insulting the crown and state institutions. In March 2018, Hasel was sentenced to a two-year prison term and a fine of 24,300 euros (USD 29,345.87). His conviction was recently approved by the higher courts which rejected his appeal. Hasel had declared that he will not volunteer himself up for imprisonment and that the authorities will have to forcefully arrest him.
Progressive sections in Spain and around the world have denounced the persecution of Pablo Hasel by the state authorities. Aritz Rodriguez Galan: the president of the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) has tweeted that the arrest of Pablo Hasel shows that “if you protest, you will suffer the same thing. The repression inherent in this system will not stop us. In Spain and worldwide, we will struggle against those who want to make us pay for the economic and health crisis”.
Many organizations including the Communist Youth (UJCE) in Spain, Communist Youth of Catalonia (JCC) etc protested Pablo Hasel’s arrest.