Spain Will Reform “Gag Law” After Rapper’s Jail Sentence Sparks Outcry

Spain Will Reform "Gag Law" After Rapper's Jail Sentence Sparks Outcry

Spain's controversial "gag laws" are the subject of public outcry - Image Source: Pablo Hasel

SPAIN ANNOUNCED on Tuesday that it will reform its controversial “gag law” on free speech after the jail sentence of an outspoken rapper sparked outrage.

Spain’s controversial free speech laws will be amended in the wake of nationwide public outrage sparked by the jail sentence imposed on outspoken rapper Pablo Hasel, Madrid announced on Tuesday (February 9th).

The Catalonian rapper was forced to flee to Belgium in 2018 after he was sentenced to nine months in prison for his lyrics and Tweets that were in breach of Spain’s strict “gag laws” imposed in 2015.

The law bans public speech that it deems to be promoting violence or insulting to religions and the monarchy. Among Hasel’s breaches of the controversial laws were comparing exiled former king Juan Carlos to a mafia boss and likening a Spanish court to the Nazis.

The left-leaning PSOE-Podemos government said that it would lessen the penalty for breaching the law so that offenders would not be jailed – yet Hassel will still spend time behind bars if he returns to Spain as his supposed crimes were committed before the planned reforms.

Many of Spain’s most famous artists and public figures, including Oscar-winning director Pedro Aldomovar and A-list actor Javier Barden, have condemned the sentencing of Hasel and called for massive reforms to the law.

Just over a week ago, a protest attended by hundreds in support of Hasel turned into a small riot in Barcelona as free speech activists across Spain expressed their outrage at the artist’s sentencing.

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Oisin Sweeney

Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...