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Leading international media have informed about the decision of the Ghent court of appeal to reject the request to extradite rapper Valtònyc to Spain. The case of the Majorcan singer has been described as a case of freedom of expression at the European level and clearly demonstrates that this right, as understood in European terms, is not respected in Spain.

These are the main reactions:

France Presse Agency

The French news agency has explained that Valtònyc had been found guilty in Spain of advocating  terrorism in one of his songs, but the Belgian judiciary has refused to extradite him. It adds that the  lawyers consider the decision “a victory for freedom of expression”. The agency recalls that Valtònyc has been living in Belgium as a “refugee” since 2018. According to France Presse, this case “is one of those which have led to pressure being exerted on the Spanish authorities to lessen the harsh punishments in force in the country for alleged infringements of freedom of expression provisions.”


German international TV, Deutsche Welle

The German television international channel has recalled that Valtònyc was convicted for the lyrics of songs published online in 2012 and 2013. “Back then, the Majorcan was a little known rapper in the Balearic Islands. And little by little he gained popular support in Catalonia, particularly within the independentist movement”. The German channel recalls that Valtònyc stated that “today is a good day for music and for freedom of expression”. In its report, Deutsche Welle recalls that the Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, is also exiled in Belgium, and adds that the Valtònyc case has “compelled Belgium to consider changing its law on lèse-majesté which dates back to1847.

Deutsche Welle

Der Spiegel

Der Spiegel, considered the leading German weekly, explains that Valtònyc is sought by the Spanish judicial authorities since May 2018 by means of a European arrest warrant. And it adds, “But the Ghent court has rejected it, stating that the charges submitted by Spain are not considered criminal offences in Belgium”. According to Der Spiegel, Valtònyc has stressed that “there are European standards” on human rights and that Spain cannot just be the land of parties and beaches, that it is also important to think of “the artists who are in jail”.

Der Spiegel

Belgian radio-television RTBF

The Belgian radio and television network has explained that Valtònyc and his lawyers have not only won against Spain but have also forced a change in Belgian law. “In March 2020, Valtònyc and his advisers won a first victory at the European Court of Justice. In order to execute the arrest warrant  the Chamber had to examine the double criminality aspect according to which a European arrest warrant cannot be executed if its underlying motive does not constitute an infringement of Belgian law. And thus it found that contempt and serious insults against the king were punishable in Belgium. But to guarantee that the lèse majesté law, which dates back to 1847, is constitutional and compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Court referred the matter to the Belgian Constitutional Court. In its ruling at the end of October the Belgian Constitutional Court found that article 1 of the 6 April 1847 law which punished offences against the monarch violated freedom of expression.  “As Belgium is not authorised to extradite people for acts that are not prohibited in our country, the European Court finally decided on Tuesday that Valtònyc would not be extradited”, reported the media network.



The European channel, Euronews, has pointed out that the Belgian justice on Tuesday rejected the extradition of rapper Valtònyc, “condemned in his country for apology of terrorism in his songs and a refugee in Belgium since 2018”. “His lawyers speak of a victory for freedom of expression,” Euronews adds. It recalled that as soon as the sentence was announced, the singer published a photograph online giving the finger in front of the Spanish embassy with the following text: “First they ignore you, then they laugh, then they attack you and finally, you win. Thanks to those who have supported me since my arrest in 2012, since my exile in 2018, to the legal team and to those  people one cannot do without who know that the struggle is the only way”.


'Le Matin'

The Swiss newspaper, Le Matin, has reported in detail Valtònyc's words on coming out of jail: “I am free and no longer on parole. I composed when I was 18, I am not a terrorist and the courts have found in my favour”, this is how the singer, whose real name is Josep Miquel Arenas Beltran, reacted at the end of the hearing. The daily quotes lawyer Simon Bekaert, who speaks of “a clear victory”.

Le matin

'The National'

The Scottish newspaper, The National, has reported in detail on Spain's obsession with the rapper. It points out that “Spain has persecuted him for three years alleging he advocated terrorism in his lyrics, but a Belgian court has rejected the extradition against exiled Catalan rapper Valtònyc.” According to The National “following his conviction in 2018, Valtònyc fled Catalonia, stating that “he would not make it easy for Spanish authorities to jail him”. The newspaper also recalls the singer's harsh criticism of Pedro Sánchez, the Spanish president, and of Unidas Podemos on coming out of the court: “The Government, which claims to be the most progressive in history, continues to have a fascist state. If Spain is a fascist state and is in the 18th century, it is because that is what it wants.” 

The National