The National High Court has ordered the imprisonment of rapper Pablo Rivadulla, known artistically as Pablo Hasel, to serve a nine-month prison sentence for a crime of glorifying terrorism, and insults and slander against the monarchy and the forces and bodies State security, for spreading threatening messages on social networks.
In a car of the Penitentiary Surveillance Court of the National Court, which the rapper himself has shared on his Twitter account, he is given ten days to voluntarily enter a penitentiary center. This decision comes after the Constitutional Court (TC) notified in November that it was inadmissible for the appeal that Hasel presented against his conviction, which was previously confirmed by the Supreme Court in June.
The rapper has reacted to this announcement noting on his Twitter profile that “in the end there has not been enough solidarity to stop this” – in reference to his conviction – and has pointed out that it affects the majority because they are not guaranteed ” freedom of expression “. “They are going to jail me for telling objective facts, but they will never bend me,” he added.
According to the Legal Network of Lawyers in his account, he is “before the first rapper in Europe who goes to jail for speaking his mind”, and they recall that 13 other rappers have been convicted without going to prison.
In December, when the inadmissibility of the TC was known, Hasel’s defense already warned that the National Court could order his entry into prison imminently, because to this last sentence was added another previous to two years in prison that was imposed on him in March 2015 for praising ETA in several videos broadcast on YouTube.
THE MESSAGES ON TWITTER AND THE SONG ON YOUTUBE
Hasel was sentenced to 9 months and 1 day in prison by the Appeals Chamber of the National Court in September 2018, as well as the payment of a fine of approximately 30,000 euros. This court nevertheless reduced the initial penalty of March 2018 imposed by the Criminal Chamber, which amounted to two years and one day in prison.
According to the Supreme Court, which confirmed the position of the National High Court, the artist published on his Twitter profile –which then had more than 54,000 followers, today more than 100,000– more than 60 messages between 2014 and 2016 in the which praised the figure of ETA members, as is the case of the former military chief of the terrorist gang, the late Joseba Arregi, of whom he said had been tortured by the Police and the GRAPO as Isabel Aparicio, arrested in October 1979 and ” exterminated as a communist, “according to his publications.
He also included ‘tweets’ in his account that incorporated videos that incited violence, with comments that are considered uplifting of terrorism and humiliating for the Crown and other State Institutions such as the State security forces and bodies. To that they added that in up to 1,915 ‘tweets’ the words GRAPO, Monarquía, Borbón, Rey, ETA, terrorism, bomb, Police and Civil Guard appeared.
Faced with the allegation that these messages were based on freedom of expression and opinion, the Supreme Court pointed out that this right “has some barriers” and is conditioned “by other rights and constitutional requirements” such as respect for the other and for ” the prohibition of conduct of praise of terrorist activities that fosters a favorable climate for their reproduction or becomes the germ, remote but real, of new actions of this nature “.
LIMITS OF FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
In addition, the Supreme Court understood that Hasel cannot take refuge in freedom of expression since the proven facts collect a plurality of messages, that he is a repeat offender in similar acts in the past, and that they have “an undoubted laudatory character of terrorist organizations” and of active members of the same.
In this sense, the TS indicates that the rapper’s messages go beyond social criticism and involve praise not only for political objectives but for the violent means used by these terrorist organizations. In the court’s opinion, there is also a real high risk that one of his followers will try to repeat a violent act because the messages “contain an incitement to repeat it.”
In line, he stressed that for the purposes of terrorism the contribution of those who extol the actions, justify the violence and express sympathy for the physical elimination of the dissident is “extraordinarily useful and valuable.
This sentence was passed with the vote in favor of the conviction of three magistrates, although it had the private vote of two magistrates, Miguel Colmenero and Ana María Ferrer, who pointed out that neither the Twitter messages nor the lyrics of the song “reach from the objective point of view is the range of criminality that corresponds to the crimes for which the sentence is issued.”
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