Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Belgian court rejects the extradition of a Spanish rapper

GHENT, Belgium ( Associated Press) — A Belgian court again ruled out on Tuesday the extradition of rapper Valtonyc to Spain, where he was sentenced to jail for lyrics praising terrorist groups and insulting the royal family.

The 28-year-old artist, whose real name is José Miguel Arenas Beltrán, has been in exile in Belgium since 2018. In his country, he is sentenced to three and a half years in prison for various reasons.

Ghent prosecutor Francis Clarysse told The Associated Press that the prosecution has 24 hours to decide whether to appeal the decision to Belgium’s highest court, the Court of Cassation. Tuesday’s ruling is the fourth in which the Belgian justice rejects an extradition request from Spain.

According to Clarysse, the latest appeal was declared “unfounded, which means extradition is not possible.”

Valtonyc’s case became popular in Spain among organizations that claim that the authorities are repressing freedom of expression. The Palma de Mallorca-based singer-songwriter was sentenced for songs he wrote when he was 18 that were seen as praising terrorist groups, threatening a politician with violence and insulting the royal family.

During the trials in Spain, the courts rejected his argument that rap lyrics are intended to be provocative and should be protected by freedom of expression.

Rights organizations and activists viewed Valtonyc’s case as an example in a broader political and legal dispute over freedom of expression, criticizing the way the prosecution has gone too far in using the criminal code to punish anyone who “glorifies the terrorism” or insult the Crown.

Nation World News Desk
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