Following its advocate general’s view, the EU court has ruled that Spain misused the European arrest warrant against rapper Valtònyc on terrorism charges. On Tuesday morning, the judges announced that Madrid should not have asked for his extradition using an amendment of the penal code which passed three years after the events he is accused of.
Through Spain’s 2012 criminal code, Valtònyc was convicted to three and a half years in prison for 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.
Yet, this is not the end of Valtònyc’s case in Europe. Luxembourg judges’ ruling will have an impact on the case, but it is a regional Belgian court that is in charge of Valtònyc’s extradition case and it still has to have a final say on whether the crimes he was convicted on in Spain have equivalent in Belgium.
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. The Ghent court’s decision on the appeal could still be taken to another court. Valtònyc’s extradition case in Belgium has been ongoing for the past year and a half.