The European Court of Justice’s advocate general Michal Bobek has aligned with Mallorcan rapper Valtònyc over his extradition request. On Tuesday morning, Luxembourg’s top lawyer presented his conclusions on the case, pointing out that Spain cannot use a criminal code that was only enforced after singer’s alleged offences took place in his European arrest warrant.
Through Spain’s 2012 criminal code, Valtònyc was convicted to three and a half years in prisonfor slander, defaming the crown, and glorifying terrorism in some of his lyrics. Although his judicial process began in 2012, when he went into exile in 2018, Spain issued an extradition request against him using the 2015 update of the criminal code, which has a tougher stance on terrorism crimes.
Valtònyc’s lawyer made the following comment on Twitter:
Today the advocate general of the CJEU in Luxembourg released his opinion in the Valtonyc Case, supporting our point of view. Spain should not bend the rules in its pursuit of extradition. Another step closer to non-extradition. @EU_Commission @Valtonyc
— Simon Bekaert (@Simonbekaert) November 26, 2019
Luxembourg judges’ ruling will have an impact on the case, but it is a regional Belgian court the one in charge of Valtònyc’s extradition case. The Ghent judges originally rejected Spain’s extradition request on September 17, 2018, arguing that it is a freedom of speech case, but the Belgian prosecutor appealed the ruling, which led the court to ask the ECJ for advice.
In the September 2019 hearing in Luxembourg, the European Commission agreed with Valtònyc’s lawyers that the arrest warrant for the singer issued by Spain was unlawful, which after the hearing led the musician to say he was “optimistic” that his extradition will be refused. The Ghent court’s decision on the appeal could still be taken to another court. Valtònyc’s extradition case in Belgium has been open for one and a half years.