(archive picture shows Valtonyc on the left)
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Spanish rapper (and Belgian resident) Valtonyc will not be extradited to Spain

An appeal court in Ghent has decided that the Spanish rapper Valtònyc can stay in Ghent and that he will not be extradited to Spain. The man was convicted in Spain on charges of insulting the crown, also known as lèse-majesté, among others. He fled to Belgium, after which the Spanish judicial authorities had asked for his extradition. Belgian public prosecutors have announced they will appeal against the latest decision. 

The musician, whose real name is Josep Miquel Arenas Beltrán, escapes extradition because lèse-majesté is no longer considered a criminal offence in Belgium. The Belgian Constitutional Court decided so two months ago, highlighting a conflict with the freedom of speech. This made his extradition impossible, because it has to be a criminal offence in both countries. 

Valtònyc was sentenced to 3,5 years behind bars in February 2018 on charges of insulting the Spanish king and promoting terrorism. In certain lines of his song texts, he suggested occupying the royal palace on the island of Mallorca. Other songs mentioned that some regional politicians deserved an atomic bomb. The Spanish judicial authorities found this strong enough to convict him. 

The rapper immediately said he wouldn't accept his punishment. He didn't report to the Spanish authorities to serve his prison sentence and fled to Belgium instead. He eventually reported to the Ghent judicial authorities. Meanwhile, Spain had issued an international search warrant for him, but after a long legal battle the rapper can stay in Ghent. Earlier he said that "Belgium is a fantastic country to live" and that he has found employment here. 

However, this is not the end of the legal battle: Belgian public prosecutors will appeal against the latest ruling. 

Belgium is a fantastic country to live

Rapper Valtònyc

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