The Spanish High Court (Audiencia Nacional) has sentenced Spanish rapper Pablo Rivadulla, known by the artistic name of Pablo Hásel, to two years and a day in jail for repeatedly praising terrorism, and for slandering Spanish state and royal institutions.
Rivadulla expressed these views in 64 Twitter messages and in a song he shared on YouTube. He has also been told to pay a €24,300 fine in connection with the case.
Two judges felt that the messages were “directed against the authority of the State in its multiple forms”
This is the second court decision against the rapper, who was convicted of similar crimes in March 2015 by the Supreme Court and handed another two-year sentence. In that case, Rivadulla had written and shared songs that praised attacks carried out by terrorist groups such as the Basque separatists ETA, Spanish Maoist group GRAPO, Al-Qaeda, the Marxist-Leninist organization Red Brigade, and more. In some songs, he called on the terrorists to repeat their attacks.
This is the third high-profile case involving freedom of speech on social media to make headlines in Spain in recent days.
Last month the Supreme Court upheld a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence against another rapper, José Miguel Arenas, better known as Valtonyc, for slander against the Crown, glorifying terrorism and making threats in a series of songs.
And this week, the Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s decision to convict a young woman named Cassandra Vera who had tweeted jokes about the ETA assassination of a Spanish prime minister who served in the late Franco years. In its decision, the Supreme Court acquits Vera of the charges, finding that repeating well-known jokes in bad taste about an attack that happened 44 years ago, without any abusive comments toward the victim, “is socially and even morally reprehensible in terms of mocking a serious human tragedy,” but “a penal sanction is not proportionate.”
Praise of terrorism
In one of his posts dating from March 2016, Rivadulla uploaded a photograph of Victoria Gómez, a member of the terrorist group GRAPO, and wrote: “Demonstrations are necessary, but not sufficient. Let us support those who have gone further.” At the time, the rapper had 54,000 followers on Twitter.
Two of the judges, Concepción Espejel and Nicolás Poveda, found that this and other posts represent “action directed against the authority of the State in its multiple forms, showing contempt for them and denigrating them individually and collectively, and invoking the need to go further in violent behavior, even resorting to terrorism and portraying leading figures convicted of terrorism as role models to follow.”
A third judge, Manuela Fernández de Prado, entered a dissenting opinion in favor of acquittal.
English version by Susana Urra.