17.05.2022 - 10:00
Actualització: 13.06.2022 - 10:12
The Ghent Appellate Court in Belgium rejected extraditing Mallorcan rapper Josep Miquel Arenas Beltrán, known by the stage name Valtònyc, to Spain on Tuesday morning in a ruling that can still be appealed. The Catalan-language musician, who was sentenced to 3 and half years behind bars in Spain in 2018 for glorifying terrorism, threats, and insulting the monarchy with his lyrics, evaded imprisonment by going to Belgium into exile.
“Victory,” his lawyer Simon Bakaert tweeted shortly after the announcement was made.
Victory. Court of appeal ruling Ghent. Even after cassation no extradition @valtonyc
— Simon Bekaert (@Simonbekaert) May 17, 2022
This is not the first time a Belgian court has ruled against sending the rapper back to Spain to serve his sentence – another court issued a similar ruling only last December, but this was then appealed by country’s public prosecutor’s office. As glorifying terrorism and threats were ruled out as grounds for his extradition, Valtònyc’s case was retried exclusively on the basis of lèse-majesté, an offence that no longer exists in Belgium.
Indeed, the country’s own slander against the monarchy law, from 1847, was struck down in October due to Spain’s ongoing attempts to extradite the rapper. The Belgium Constitutional Court removed it from the criminal code after determining that it violated the right to freedom of expression as well as the European Convention on Human Rights.