justice

Rapper given two-year prison sentence for singing praises of terrorists

High Court states hate speech not protected by freedom of expression

Rapper Pablo Hasel following his arrest in 2011.
Rapper Pablo Hasel following his arrest in 2011.EP

The High Court on Tuesday handed down a two-year jail sentence to rapper Pablo Hasel after he was convicted on changes of glorifying terrorism in 10 songs he uploaded to video-sharing website YouTube.

The 25-year-old, whose real name is Pablo Rivadulla Duró, had composed songs that praised attacks carried out by Basque separatists ETA, Spanish Maoist group Grapo, Al Qaeda, the Marxist-Leninist organization Red Brigade and other terrorist groups. In some songs, he called on the terrorists to repeat their attacks.

Hasel was arrested in October 2011 and went on trial on March 10 of this year. On some of his tracks, he alluded to attacks against former Congress speaker José Bono and former Basque regional premier Patxi López.

During his trial, Hasel acknowledged that he had written and sung the lyrics but argued that he was protected by freedom of expression. But Justice Alfonso Guevara, who presided the three-judge panel, said that “hate speech is not protected under the freedom of expression guidelines in a democratic state.”

The court based its ruling and sentence on a decision by the European Court of Human Rights, which stated that “praise or justification of terrorist acts” cannot be considered freedom of speech because they “cause serious violations to the human rights of the communities that suffer” such attacks.