European Court of Human Rights dismisses rapper Valtònyc's case

Musician was sentenced to prison for slander in his lyrics, but avoided jail by going into exile where his extradition case is open

Exiled rapper Valtònyc in Brussels on September 16, 2019 (by Nazaret Romero)
Exiled rapper Valtònyc in Brussels on September 16, 2019 (by Nazaret Romero) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

November 19, 2019 10:47 AM

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has dismissed rapper Valtònyc's appeal against Spain. On Tuesday morning, it was revealed that the Strasbourg judges decided not to consider his claim that the verdict he received in Spain was against his human rights. 

An ECHR judge dismissed the appeal on July 11, but sources in Valtònyc's defense say they have not been told the reason.

More appeals

The rapper's lawyers suggest that the court might have taken into consideration that Valtònyc can still make appeals within Spain's legal framework – the ECHR only tackles cases when the whole appeal process within a country has been exhausted.

If this is the case, Valtònyc could still continue fighting the verdict in Spain, and then potentially take it to the ECHR.

The singer was convicted to three and a half years in prison for slander, defaming the crown, and glorifying terrorism in some of his lyrics - he went into exile to avoid jail and his extradition case is still open in Belgium.

Advocate General's advice due on Nov 26

The ECHR's decision comes after the appeals court in Ghent handling the rapper's extradition case asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg to clarify which Spanish antiterrorism law should apply.

On November 26, the Advocate General of the ECJ is expected to announce his conclusions on whether a Spanish law from 2012 or another tougher anti-terror law passed in 2015 applies in Valtònyc’s case.

The Ghent court originally rejected Spain's extradition request on September 17, arguing that it is a freedom of speech case, but the Belgian prosecutor appealed the ruling, which led the court to ask the ECJ for advice.

In the September hearing, the European Commission agreed with Valtònyc's lawyers that the arrest warrant for the singer issued by Spain was unlawful, which after the hearing led the musician to say he was "optimistic" that his extradition will be refused.