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Music switched off across the region

After 2017’s spate of musicians imprisoned for terror offences in Spain (1st quartile), rapper Valtònyc was handed a three-and-a-half year jail sentence, confirmed by the Supreme Court in January, for glorifying terrorism and insulting the crown.[1] Rapper Pablo Hasél received a conviction on the same charges, facing nearly three years in prison and a large fine.[2] Demonstrators protested these convictions across the country in February.[3]

Spain is not alone; in the UK, five members of the group 1011 were banned from making drill music (a subgenre of hip-hop), with a judge ruling in June that the police must be notified in advance of any new music or performances by the group.[4]

In Russia (4th quartile), rapper Husky faced two weeks in prison after an unauthorised performance on top of a car in November, having been told he was banned from performing due to the ‘extremist’ nature of his songs.[5] In the same month, a judge in Turkey cleared hip-hop artist Ezhel of ‘encouraging drug use’ on the grounds that she considered his music to be a work of art.[6]


[1] Tremending, ‘Las redes cargan contra la condena a Valtonyc: “En España vas a la cárcel por escribir una canción pero no por saquear los bancos”’, Público, 20 February 2018, available at

[2] Fernando J. Pérez, ‘Second Spanish rapper sentenced to prison for praising terrorism’, El Pais, 2 March 2018, available at

[3] Publico, ‘Protestas en diez países por el “jaque a la libertad de expresión” en España’, 7 February 2018, available at

[4] Ian Cobain, ‘London drill rap group banned from making music due to threat of violence’, The Guardian, 15 June 2018, available at

[5] The Moscow Times, ‘Russian rapper Husky detained after police raid on concert’, 22 November 2018, available at

[6] P24 Platform for Independent Journalism, Hip Hop Artist Ezhel Acquitted and Freed, 19 June 2018, available at