Riot police storm Spanish university to arrest rapper who criticised king and government

Spanish rapper, Pablo Hasel, 33, who barricaded himself inside a Catalan university to avoid a prison sentence for tweets and lyrics that attacked the monarchy and police, was arrested.

Mr Hasel was given until last Friday to turn himself in, after being sentenced to nine months for glorifying terrorism, and slandering the crown and state institutions.

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.

On Tuesday, Spanish police dressed in full riot gear entered Lleida University, some 150 kilometres from Barcelona, and removed the barricades where Hasel locked himself.

Besides attacks on the monarchy, Hasel’s tweets and lyrics accused police of torturing and killing demonstrators and migrants.

More than 200 artists, including film director Pedro Almodóvar and Hollywood star Javier Bardem, have signed a petition against his jailing.

In one message Hasel expressed support for Victoria Gómez, a jailed member of the banned Marxist group Grapo. Elsewhere he accused King Felipe VI and his father Juan Carlos, the former king, of several crimes.

Hasel’s real name is Pablo Rivadulla Duro. He also backs the campaign for Catalan independence.

In 2017, Catalan separatists triggered Spain’s biggest political crisis since the death of fascist dictator Francisco Franco in 1975. Sunday’s Catalan election gave the separatists a majority in the regional parliament.

In 2018 another rapper, known as Valtònyc, was jailed for three-and-a-half-years in Spain, but he fled to Belgium, where a court decided not to extradite him. He remains wanted under a Spanish arrest warrant.