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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