Belgian prosecution appeals ruling refusing to extradite rapper Valtònyc

The new court hearing will be on January 11 at the Brussels Court of Appeals

Rapper Josep Miquel Arenas, a.k.a. Valtònyc, in Belgium (by Natàlia Segura)
Rapper Josep Miquel Arenas, a.k.a. Valtònyc, in Belgium (by Natàlia Segura) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

December 29, 2021 10:08 AM

Belgian prosecution had 24 hours to appeal a ruling to not extradite rapper Valtònyc from Belgium to Spain. Now, the Brussels Court of Appeals will study the prosecution’s appeal to decide Valtònyc’s future on January 11, 2022.

The appeal was very "unlikely," the musician’s lawyer said on Tuesday after the court of appeals ruling. However, now Josep Miquel Arenas, better known as Valtònyc, could be extradited to Spain.  

Sources from Valtònyc’s defense team confirmed to Catalan News Agency (ACN) that the prosecution has five more days to justify its appeal. Then, the musician’s lawyers will have two days to answer and the hearing will take place on the morning of January 11 at the Brussels Court of Appeals. 

Leaving the court on Tuesday, Valtònyc said that on a personal level he is "happy" but that, at the same time, he feels "very angry and very helpless" for his fellow artists who are serving time in Spain for the contents of their lyrics.

"If Spain is a fascist state and is in the 18th century, it is because it wants to be," he added.

After the initial ruling, restrictions on Valtònyc's freedom of movement were lifted and the Mallorcan spent ten hours in a car crossing France in order to, for the first time in four years, enter Spanish territory, as authorities in Spain could not arrest him.

Valtònyc's lawyer, Simon Bekaert, hailed the ruling as a "good day for music and freedom of expression."

The Ghent Appellate Court, handling Spain's extradition request, asked the Belgian Constitutional Court over a year ago if Valtònyc's case was covered by freedom of expression. 

The country's first extradition request was rejected by a district court in September 2018, after which the Ghent Appellate Court asked the Court of Justice of the European Union if Valtònyc could be extradited for glorifying terrorism - they responded that he could not. 

As a result of the Catalan-language rapper's case, the Belgian Constitutional Court struck down the country's own law against slander to the monarchy in October 2021.

According to the court, the 1847 law, which allows for up to three-year sentences for insulting the royal family, violates the right to freedom of expression as well as the European Convention on Human Rights.

"We have won and Belgium has removed lèse majesté from the criminal code," he celebrated in a tweet at the time.