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  • Catalan rapper Pablo Hasel faces a further two-and-a-half years in prison if he

    Catalan rapper Pablo Hasel faces a further two-and-a-half years in prison if he's found guilty of praising terrorism and disrespecting the Spanish monarchy. March 10, 2014. | Photo: EFE

Published 1 February 2018

The trial is part of the Spanish government's Operation Spider, which targets social media users and public figures for "encouraging terrorism."

Catalan rapper Pablo Hasel faces a further two-and-a-half years in prison if he's found guilty by the Spanish National Audience of praising terrorism and disrespecting the Spanish monarchy.

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Already sentenced to two years, Hasel reaffirmed his Communist ideology in a Thursday hearing and said everyone has the right to "decide who represents" them.

He was speaking about the Basque Homeland and Liberty (ETA), considered a terrorist organization by the European Union even though it has abandoned its armed struggle, and the First of October Antifascist Resistance Groups (GRAPO), both of which he considers textbook examples of resistance.

Pablo is being tried for his anti-monarchy lyrics in a song entitled "Juan Carlos el Bobon," along with 62 Twitter posts, as part of an internet censorship campaign.

The campaign, known as "Operation Spider," is a national crackdown on internet users and public figures accused of "encouraging terrorism" or disrespecting the Spanish monarchy.

"Let's see if I'm guilty because the king is using public money for going hunting or using public money to silence his lovers, like Barbara Rey," Hasel told the court. "If every media must go to prison for telling this, there wouln't be enough prisons."

Hasel defended his right to freedom of speech, accusing the court of bias because right-wing internet users are apparently still free to express their violent opinions towards leftist groups and individuals.

"Freedom of speech limits are always for the same: the anti-fascists. My mistake is not being a fascist that hopes to bomb Catalans or homosexuals," he said during the hearing.

The rapper Valtonyc has also been sentenced to three and a half years for his lyrics.

Protest in Lleida, Catalonia, demanding freedom for rapper Pablo Hasel in May 2011. Photo: EFE

 

Kaiet Prieto, 23, is due to be judged on Friday by the National Audience for tweets "praising terrorism," including support messages to members of ETA. The prosecutor is asking for two years in prison, a US$6,000 fine and ten years of "full disqualification."

During the hearing, Prieto said he and other Operation Spider victims were being judged for their political ideas, but the judge denied this, declaring they were being judged for their crimes.

Prieto supporters from his neighbourhood of Barakaldo organized a protest supporting him, Pablo and others accused as part of Operation Spider.


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