epa09026816 Riot police officers stand guard during a march against the imprisonment of Spanish rapper Pablo Hasel in Barcelona, Spain, 20 February 2021. Riots happened in several Spanish cities after Hasel was sentenced to a nine-months in jail sentence after he was found him guilty of glorifying terrorism and insulting the crown and state institutions. EPA/QUIQUE GARCIA

Portuguese artists demand Spanish rapper’s release

Over 100 artists in Portugal have signed a petition in support of Spanish rapper Pablo Hasél.

Hasél was taken to prison on Tuesday on charges of glorifying terrorism and insulting Spain’s King in his lyrics, and faces nine months in prison.

The Portuguese petition, signed by prominent Portuguese artists, including rapper Capicua, visual artist Vhils and musician Sérgio Godinho, “demands the release of Catalan rapper Pablo Hasél” whose supporters on Monday barricaded themselves in a building at Lleida university.

Hasél’s arrest has sparked protests in Spain, with protestors in Barcelona burning bins and throwing stones and bottles at police officers.

The Portuguese petition, which has over 1,200 signatures, points out that “in a democracy, artists are not sentenced to nine months in prison, which may, in legal cumulative, reach 20 years, for singing and for writing.”

The petition adds that the Spanish musician had denounced “the flagrant corruption of a monarchy less and less legitimated democratically,” showed solidarity “with hundreds of political prisoners of the Spanish State” and criticised “the social injustices that plague the people and their communist political militancy.”

The Portuguese signatories also want “the Portuguese government to adopt, in the face of human rights violations that occur in the Spanish State, a firm stance in defense of freedom, democracy, freedom of expression and for the immediate release of Pablo Hasél”.