A court in Ghent has rejected the extradition for the Mallorcan-born rapper Valtònyc, who moved to Belgium in May in order to avoid a three and a half year prison sentence in Spain. The court argued that it is a freedom of speech case, therefore rejecting the crimes of glorification of terrorism, slander against the crown and threats in his song lyrics.
The prosecutor can still appeal the decision, which comes after in August Belgium already rejected an automatic extradition and granted the artist provisional freedom.
“I am very happy for being free and not extradited, but at the same time I am very sad at the colleagues in Spain who are not free and who have no fair trial or justice,” were Valtònyc’s first comments to the press after knowing the Belgian ruling. The artist was implicitly referring to other artists in Spain facing jail time over their lyrics and the Catalan pro-independence leaders in pre-trial jail, among others. “It is very sad that we have to leave home to find justice and be free,” he added.
One of his lawyers, Gonzalo Boye, said that Spain should start “applying European and democratic standards” if they do not want to face again “embarrassing situations” like the one in Ghent on Monday. “Reducing sentences is not enough, we need these not to be crimes, because we are talking about freedom of speech cases,” added Boye.
European Court of Human Rights
Despite the judicial decision in Belgium, Valtònyc announced he will continue his plans to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). “We have come to win it all, we will go to the ECHR to set a precedent,” he added outside the court in Ghent.