A Spanish rapper that was sentenced to jail time for tweets and lyrics that insulted monarchy and praised terrorist groups have locked himself inside a Catalan university along with some of his supporters, a move he made to evade prison sentence.
The dramatic incident happened on Monday but Spanish authorities have ordered Pablo Hasel to turn himself in before Friday for the crime of slander against the crown and police while also praising terrorism.
But he has tweeted that he is with supporters inside Lleida University.
“They’ll have to break in to take me and jail me,” he tweeted defiantly.
According to Reuters, Hasel accused the authorities of clamping their fundamental rights to free speech.
“We are trying to raise awareness of what is happening. This is a very serious attack on our freedoms, not just on me,” Hasel, who is known for his radical leftist views, said.
The musician is also known for his unending attacks on the police using his lyrics and tweets to indict the police of torturing and killing demonstrators and migrants.
He and about 20 supporters used a chain with a padlock to shut the main entrance to one of the buildings of Lleida university in the region of Catalonia where they took refuge. Police have yet to show up.
Supporting Hasel, local artist Cinta Vidal has painted graffiti in a town near Barcelona depicting a singing Hasel being painted over by former king Juan Carlos with a roll brush.
“It is not acceptable that an artist should go to jail for expressing his ideas,” Vidal stated.
Lleida University is in the city of Lérida (Lleida in Catalan), 150km (90 miles) west of Barcelona.
Earlier, Hasel had expressed support for Victoria Gómez, a jailed member of the banned Marxist group Grapo and also accused King Felipe VI and his father Juan Carlos, the former king, of several crimes.
There have been a series of cases where residents of the country are sent to jail over their views off and online but the government has promised to revisit the law for a review.