Amnesty International has called on Spain and Belgium to protect Valtònyc’s freedom of expression. The rapper is waiting for the Belgian Constitutional Court to decide whether a Belgian law of 1847 criminalizing insults to the king is appropriate to current legislation and international human rights law and can be applied to Valtònyc. He would then be extradited to Spain.
Amnesty International is calling on Belgium to “fulfill its human rights obligations by not facilitating the extradition of Valtònyc to Spain”, where he would be imprisoned “only for having exercised his right to freedom of expression”. Amnesty also calls on Spain to withdraw the European order against Valtònyc, to remove from the penal code the crimes of exaltation of terrorism and insults to the crown and not to criminalize forms of expression “beyond those that encourage others to commit a recognizable criminal act”.
The human rights NGO also calls on both states to “harmonize” their criminal laws with international human rights law and to abolish provisions that disproportionately restrict freedom of expression and give special protection to the king and other public figures.
Amnesty International claims that laws penalizing insults to the monarchy “constitute an unlawful restriction on the right to freedom of expression.” They also recall that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has repeatedly stated that “providing heads of state with a special legal regime, which removes them from criticism only because of their function or legal regime, regardless of whether the criticism is justified ”impedes freedom of expression”.
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