Rapper sentenced to prison calls for ‘disobedience’
Hip hop artist Valtonyc to perform in Barcelona on Wednesday evening in defiance of the Spanish justice
The Hip Hop artist Josep Miquel Arenas Beltrán, known as Valtonyc, will perform in Barcelona on Wednesday evening in defiance of the Spanish justice, which sentenced him to over three years in jail for his lyrics.
“Faced with my conviction, society is getting organized,” he said in a press conference earlier in the day. “The best response is to disobey and to not fall into self-censorship, which is what they are seeking.”
The event, which will take place in the venue Freedonia at 8pm, is organized by the collective ‘We will not shut up.’ The group was formed to support artists who are being prosecuted by the Spanish judiciary. The organization is also planning a series of activities running from April 9 to 15 in order to collect money that will be used to create a solidarity fund.
“The best response is to disobey and to not fall into self-censorship, which is what they are seeking”
Josep Miquel Arenas Beltrán (Valtonyc) · Rapper
In a manifesto, they pledged not to give up, as long as “artists are persecuted” and “freedom of expression and artistic creation is limited.” They called on civil society to organize concerts, debates, exhibits in order to back the artists and protest the court rulings. According to them, cities such as Madrid, València, Gijón, Alacant, Tarragona, and Terrassa have already confirmed that they will be organizing some events.
The rapper stressed that the only thing he feared when he was convicted was for people to remain silent. “In just a few days, weeks, or months I will enter prison and I want to tell whoever’s listening that I’ll never forget and I’ll always be there to defend your fight,” he said.
Valtonyc was convicted by the Spanish supreme court for the alleged crimes of glorification of terrorism, slander, ‘lèse-majesté’ (defamation against the crown) and threats in his song lyrics.
On Tuesday, Amnesty International issued a report warning of an increased use by Spanish courts of a “draconian law” banning the glorification of terrorism to prosecute artists and ordinary citizens, which they deem as “part of a sustained attack on freedom of expression.”