Spain’s Supreme court has sentenced rapper César Strawberry to one year in prison for tweets “glorifying terrorism” and “humiliating victims.”
The high court found that Tweets sent by Strawberry, leader of the popular and polemical rap-rock band Def Con Dos, “feed the discourse of hate [and] legitimize terrorism as a formula for resolving social conflicts,” according to court documents quoted by Spain’s El Pais newspaper.
Strawberry, whose real name is César Augusto Montaña Lehmann, was found guilty of sending a series of tweets between 2013 and 2014 that made reference to the Spanish militant group GRAPO, and also to José Antonio Ortega Lara, a former prison officer who was kidnapped by the Basque separatist group ETA in 1996 and confined to a small room in a damp basement for 532 days before being freed.
In a tweet, Strawberry said that “Ortega Lara should be kidnapped [again] now.” In another message, Strawberry joked that he was sending a “cake-bomb” to the king of Spain for his birthday.
The court said that Strawberry’s messages caused victims of ETA to relive “the memory of the lacerating experience of threat, kidnapping, or the murder of a close relative.”
Strawberry had been absolved of charges by a lower court last July, which in its ruling acknowledged that the tweets served the same function as the social and politically-critical lyrics of the songs by Def Con Dos, a group influenced by the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy.
That decision was revoked by the Supreme Court, which handed down the sentence in Madrid today (Jan. 19).
“At no time did I intend to humiliate victims or glorify terrorism because I have friends who have been victims, them and their family members,” Strawberry told reporters outside of the courthouse. In the courtroom, he testified on his own behalf.
Following the verdict, Strawberry tweeted to his 14,000 followers:
“Your support and solidarity are the greatest guarantee that faced with repression, the defense of the right to freely express ourselves will prevail.”
Vuestro apoyo y solidaridad son la mayor garantía de que la defensa del derecho a expresarnos libremente prevalecerá frente a la represión.
— César Strawberry (@CesarStrawberry) January 19, 2017
Directo Álex de la Iglesia has included Def Con Dos tracks in his films Mutant Action and The Day of the Beast. The group’s songs include “España es Idiota” (“Spain is Stupid”), and “La Culpa de Todo La Tiene Yoko Ono” (“Everything is Yoko Ono’s Fault”).