Where is Josep Miquel Arenas Beltrán?
The rapper, who performs as Valtonyc, convicted for his lyrics, has fled Spanish territory to avoid going to prison and to work from Europe in defence of freedom of expression, according to a number of sources El Nacional has spoken too. The rapper has gone into exile, probably to Switzerland or Belgium.
This Thursday will see the end of the ten-day period he has to present himself at prison. He could choose from any he wanted in Spain, but has decided to not go to any. He was sentenced to three and a half years in prison by Spain's Supreme Court for his lyrics on charges of glorifying terrorism, humiliating victims, insulting king Juan Carlos I and threatening Jorge Campos of the right-wing political party Actúa Baleares.
Although he had 10 days to go to prison, the musician was otherwise free to travel as he wished, and wasn't to have been monitored. Nonetheless, it's believed that police put together a surveillance and tracking team to prevent him catching a flight or leaving the island of Mallorca where he lives. If so, they appear to have lost his trail.
Police team, dodged
Valtonyc has left before. He's left the island whilst police were preparing a team precisely to avoid him doing so. Hundreds of his fans bought plane tickets in his name with different destinations in a campaign designed to throw off Spain's security forces. The rapper left Mallorca more than 10 days ago without raising any sort of suspicion.
In fact, the large-scale buying of tickets in his name started after he had already left Spanish territory. The request was from 15th to 24th May.
The police started warning this Tuesday that they didn't know where he was. In fact, it's been days since the musician has appeared in public; the only news about him has been on social media.
Valtonyc planned, as has now become public, to not present himself voluntarily to prison, which would mean a legal warrant being issued and him being arrested at home to be taken by force into custody. As such, if he doesn't turn up by himself, police will go to his house to find him. But the rapper has already hinted on Twitter that they won't find anyone there.
Mañana es el día. Mañana van a tumbar la puerta de mi casa para meterme en la carcel. Por unas canciones. Mañana España va a hacer el ridículo, una vez más. No se lo voy a poner tan fácil, desobedecer es legítimo y obligación ante este estado fascista. Aquí no se rinde nadie.— Josep V. (@valtonyc) 23 de maig de 2018
Translation: Tomorrow is the day. Tomorrow, they're going to knock down the door of my house to put me in prison. For some songs. Tomorrow, Spain is going to make a fool of itself, once again. I'm not going to make it so easy for them, disobeying is legitimate and an obligation in the face of this fascist state. Here nobody surrenders.
The legal path
Meanwhile, his lawyer, Juan Manuel Olarieta, has already appealed to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. He's presented an appeal calling for the two sentences to be overturned. In the appeal, they argue that the rapper's basic rights have been violated. The lawyer asked Strasbourg to suspend his entry to prison whilst the appeal is considered.