The Belgian court refuses the Spanish side in extradite of the rapper

The Belgian court rejected the request of Spain to extradite the rapper sentenced to prison on charges, including insulting the monarchy, said the representative of the Prosecutor’s office of the city of Ghent.

Valtònyc, 24, whose real name is Josep Miquel Arenas, fled to Belgium in May after being sentenced in Spain to three and a half years for his lyrics, in which he also praised terror groups.

“For the moment he is free and he is free definitively in Belgium,” his lawyer Paul Bekaert told Reuters TV in Ghent on Monday.

However, Bekaert said a European warrant could be issued for his arrest in other countries that he might visit in future.

Valtònyc’s case has been criticised by international organisations such as Amnesty International, who claim Spanish authorities are cracking down on free speech.

“I am very happy as finally we have found justice. We have been looking for it for a long time, and in Spain we did not get it,” Valtònyc told Reuters TV.

“So it’s good that here they ruled in our favour, that here freedom of expression is important, but I’m very sad that in Spain justice is not evolving,” he said.

Cases such as Valtonyc’s are based on article 578 of the Spanish penal code. Since the 2015 approval of new security legislation, popularly known as the “gag law”, the number of people charged has risen exponentially, leading to 84 convictions in the last three years, according to Amnesty.

In 2017, 39 people were brought before the courts charged with praising terrorism on social networks.

Spain’s new Socialist government has said one of its priorities is the revision of the “gag law”.

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