His name is Valtònyc, and not sure that, at the royal palace in Laeken, we know the incendiary repertoire of this Spanish rapper who has taken refuge in Belgium since 2018. At the end of October, however, the Belgian head of state and his entourage must have discovered, a little amazed, that Josep Miguel Arenas Beltran – his real name – had managed to obtain in a few months what the Flemish nationalists and extremists, as well as some Walloon republicans, had been demanding for decades: the end of ‘a legal provision dating from 1847 and punishing the “crime of lese majesté”, namely offenses against the king.
Valtònyc-Beltran, a native of Mallorca who sings in Catalan, must meet, Tuesday, November 23, before the judges of the Ghent Court of Appeal. For reading their judgment and, probably, savoring a victory, not so much over King Philippe, but over the authorities of his country, who demand his extradition on the basis of a European arrest warrant.
Act 1: the flight
Go back. In 2017, Valtònyc was sentenced by the Spanish courts for apologizing for terrorism and insulting the Crown. In texts dating from 2012, the singer spoke of the murder of members of the government, of right-wing parties and, during a concert, he launched: “Let them be afraid like a civil guard in the Basque Country. « He also targeted the royal family, treated Juan Carlos Ier of » thief « , and mentioned a meeting of the king « In the village square, a rope around the neck ».
When his judgment is confirmed by the Court of Cassation, he then goes to Belgium, where he is helped by lawyers who already defend the Catalan independence leaders who have taken refuge in the country, including Carles Puigdemont, former president of the Generalitat de Catalunya, whose Madrid will try in vain to obtain extradition.
Valtònyc and his defenders will garner a first success by contesting, before the Court of Justice of the European Union, the arrest warrant issued by Madrid. The judges of Luxembourg noted, in March 2020, that this was not valid: it evoked an offense for apologizing for terrorism, which should, in principle, make extradition by Belgium automatic.
On one condition: that the offense is punishable by three years in prison in the country where it was committed, Spain in this case. However, Valtònyc’s words date from 2012 and, at that time, Spanish law provided for a maximum sentence of only two years… The law was, of course, reviewed and adopted in 2015 but could not be applied retroactively, indicate European magistrates.
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