Catalan president in exile Carles Puigdemont has sent a letter to all his fellow MEPs explaining yesterday's Valtònyc ruling, which has forced a change in Belgium's lèse majesté law dating from 1847 and has put the brakes on the Spanish extradition demand. Puigdemont's communication recalled that the Mallorcan rapper called Spanish king Juan Carlos I a "thief" - and time has proven him right.
In the letter, which is also signed by fellow exiled MEPs Clara Ponsatí and Toni Comín, Puigdemont states: "In one of the songs that landed Valtònyc a conviction, he called the former Spanish king a thief. In time, however, several corruption cases affecting the king have indeed come to light, as revealed by several major media outlets, which means that Valtònyc not only deserves to be a free man, but was also right all along,” he adds.
Criticisms of the ineffectiveness of Pedro Sánchez
The letter explains the consequences of the Valtònyc ruling, and regrets the ineffectiveness of the Spanish PSOE-Podemos coalition government on these issues. "The ruling is a landmark decision for freedom of expression and civil liberties in Europe and new proof that there is a problem in Spain as regards freedom of expression: in its Criminal Code and in the lack of democratic culture of its judicial system." "Further, the Spanish government has yet to react at all. After three and a half years in power, prime minister Pedro Sánchez has done nothing to change the Criminal Code and make it more respectful of the right to freedom of expression, as repeatedly demanded by international organizations such as Amnesty International, Article 19 and Freemuse," he said.
The letter underlined that yesterday Thursday was an "historic day" for freedom of expression in Europe, due to the decision of the Belgian Constitutional Court to eliminate the crime of lèse majesté, which penalized insults to the crown with imprisonment and fines.
Valtònyc: "I'm going to Amsterdam"
After his historic victory yesterday in Belgium, the Mallorcan rapper said today that the state "no longer has any argument" to extradite him. "I was tried for terrorism and insults and a year ago, the European Court of Justice already said that there can be no terrorism in a song, so only the insults to the crown were left and now that offence has been removed from the Criminal Code. They cannot extradite me either for that reason," said the rapper in an interview with radio station RAC 1.
Valtònyc explained why, during his three years in exile in Belgium, together with Puigdemont and the exiled councilors, he has never left the country. As he said, this was the "only condition" imposed on him by the Belgian judge in this case. In addition, the rapper mentioned that a European Arrest Warrant is in force. However, Valtònyc is already thinking about the first place he will go after this decision by the Belgian Constitutional Court: probably to Amsterdam.