February 22, 2021
We cannot stand by and watch artists jailed for their art in the EU – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Gaeilge, the Gaeltacht, Arts and Culture, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, has called on the Spanish government to immediately release the fourteen artists currently imprisoned for their beliefs and their artwork, following the arrest of republican rapper Pablo Hasél last week.

Spain ranks first in the world for sending musicians to jail, according to a study by NGO Freemuse and Hasél’s arrest is another in a long line of musicians charged with “insulting the monarchy” and “terrorism” for lyrics that call for a republic or which support Catalan or Basque independence. Other artists have been forced into exile to avoid persecution.

Teachta Ó Snodaigh said:

“This marks a total violation of the human right to freedom of expression and conscience, and recalls a darker time in not-so-distant Spanish history where culture and individualism were not tolerated and faced brutal crackdown.

“That this is allowed to happen in the European Union is an absolute disgrace, and it makes a mockery of its supposed commitments to guaranteeing human rights and democracy. If this were happening in another country, the EU would be going out of its way to condemn it, but when it happens in Spain there is no response.

“I am calling on our Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, the Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin, to raise this as a matter of urgency with her European counterparts and to make every effort to defend the rights of musicians and artists to express themselves freely without fear of censorship and arrest for their artwork.”

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