Thursday. 01.12.2022
JUSTICE

Spanish rapper Valtonyc wins case against extradition in Belgium

Rapper Valtonyc received prison sentences totalling three and a half years in 2018 for praising Spanish separatist terrorist groups and insulting the Spanish monarchy

A view of Ghent, in Belgium. Photo: Pixabay.
A general view of Ghent, in Belgium. Photo: Pixabay.

A Spanish rapper convicted in Spain for glorifying terrorism has again won his case in Belgium against extradition after a court ruling in Ghent, the Belga news agency reported on Tuesday.

Rapper Valtonyc, whose real name is Josep Miquel Arenas, received prison sentences totalling three and a half years in 2018 for praising Spanish separatist terrorist groups and insulting the Spanish monarchy, among other things, in his lyrics.

Arenas fled to Belgium in May 2018 where he has resisted extradition since. A court in Ghent previously ruled in his favour that he should not be extradited.

Belgium's highest court, the Court of Cassation, partially overruled this decision in January 2022 with regards to the charges of insulting Spain's royal family.

As a result, the court in Ghent needed to revise its ruling and found again in his favour. The prosecution can still appeal to the Court of Cassation, Belga reported.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has previously dealt with the case in relation to a three-year conviction threshold that compels EU member states to execute European Arrest Warrants.

At the time of the rapper's prosecution, Spain's maximum penalty for his offences was set below this criteria.

Warrant execution

Madrid later increased the conviction period for Valtonyc's offences and called on Belgium to extradite the musician.

The ECJ in 2020 dismissed Spain's argument that the rapper should be handed over automatically now the maximum sentence breached the threshold and returned the case to the Ghent court.

The EU's top court found Belgium had a duty to scrutinize whether the acts for which Valtonyc was convicted are also crimes in Belgium, and whether they are severe enough to justify executing the warrant.

Spanish rapper Valtonyc wins case against extradition in Belgium
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