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Rapper arrested in Spain following protest against curbs on free speech

A defiant Pablo Hasel had been barricaded with supporters in a university building.

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Rap singer Pablo Hasel is detained by police officers (Joan Mateu/AP)

Rap singer Pablo Hasel is detained by police officers (Joan Mateu/AP)

Rap singer Pablo Hasel is detained by police officers (Joan Mateu/AP)

A 24-hour standoff between police and a Spanish rapper barricaded with dozens of his supporters in a university ended with anti-riot officers arresting the artist.

Pablo Hasel was escorted by riot police out of Lleida University’s rectorate building, in the northeastern Catalonia region, where he and over 50 supporters had locked themselves in since mid-Monday.

It was the rapper’s latest effort to resist imprisonment and draw attention to what he portrays as a campaign for free speech.

The rapper has been sentenced to nine months in prison for insulting the monarchy and praising terrorism.

“We will win, they will not bend us with all their repression, never!” the 32-year-old rapper said as he passed TV news cameras.

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Rap singer Pablo Hasel (Joan Mateu/AP)

Rap singer Pablo Hasel (Joan Mateu/AP)

AP/PA Images

Rap singer Pablo Hasel (Joan Mateu/AP)

The case of Hasel, whose real name is Pablo Rivadulla Duro, has drawn increasing attention in Spain and has been linked to the government’s sudden announcement that it is changing a national law that is deemed to curtail freedom of expression.

Over 200 artists, including film director Pedro Almodovar and actor Javier Bardem, signed a petition last week in support of the rapper.

Spain’s left-wing coalition government unexpectedly announced last week that it would make changes to the country’s criminal code to eliminate prison terms for offences involving freedom of expression.

It did not specifically mention Hasel or set a timetable for the changes.

PA


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