On Tuesday, the inspector of the Information Brigade of the Spanish National Police, who assaulted the photo-journalist Jordi Borràs, agreed to a one-year prison sentence. He will pay 7,000 euros as compensation, in addition to all court costs.
Borràs: “The man admitted before the judge that it was an aggression for ideological reasons and he accepted a year of imprisonment and a compensation of 7,000 euros. Victory against all odds.”
The journalist believes that he was fortunate to have witnesses. “It has already been shown that I am innocent and he is the culprit. He must be expelled from the corps, I will not accept anything else,” Borràs said.
His lawyer, Carla Val: “Jordi’s unjust prosecution ends today and we have achieved the sentence he deserves, as well as a course on violence prevention and a human rights course.”
Borràs was attacked in July 2018 in the heart of Barcelona. A man identified him and slammed into him while shouting “Long live Spain and long live Franco.” The prosecution considered the inspector responsible for a crime of injury with the aggravating factor of discrimination on ideological grounds. During this time, the officer had maintained a false accusation against Borràs, arguing that he had beaten the officer. Three years after, the case was resolved in Tuesday’s hearing in the City of Justice of Barcelona.
Following an appeal by the Belgian prosecutor’s office, the Court of Cassation of Brussels ordered a partial extradition re-trial of Josep Miquel Arenas, alias Valtònyc, on Tuesday. The Belgian high court asked to review the sentence issued by the Ghent Court of Appeal, which on December 28 rejected the extradition of the rapper, convicted in Spain for alleged glorification of terrorism, insults to the crown, and threats.
In the ruling, the Court of Cassation made it clear that the re-trial will be partial and will only focus on the alleged crime of insulting the crown on his song lyrics.
Valtònyc’s lawyer, Gonzalo Boye, believes his extradition will be refused again and made a clarification. “Court of Cassation case @valtonyc dismisses Ghent prosecutor’s appeal for crimes of glorification of terrorism and threats, orders return of case to Ghent Court of Appeals to reconsider its decision only for the crime of insulting the Crown” – Gonzalo Boye (@boye_g) January 18, 2022
In fact, the crime to be tried again, that of insulting the crown, took the court by surprise because it did not exist in Belgian law. There was a Belgian law against insulting the king, which dated from 1847 and imposed sentences of up to three years in prison. But the court itself had doubts about the application of this crime. It consulted its legality in the Constitutional Court, which ruled that it was unconstitutional because it did not respect freedom of expression and violated the European Convention on Human Rights.
In this way, the Belgian Constitutional Court overturned the law and at the same time broke the double criminality in Belgium and Spain that would have allowed the extradition for this crime.
On Tuesday at the National Court of Spain, former Spanish police commissioner José Manuel Villarejo, said that the Spanish National Intelligence Service (CNI) was behind the 2017 terror attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils. He said the aim was to destabilize Catalonia before the independence referendum. However, the outcome of 16 deaths was a miscalculation.
“The CNI miscalculated the consequences of giving Catalonia a little scare,” said Villarejo during the trial of three of the branches of the Tandem case that is being heard in the Spanish National Court, the Court is reviewing several tasks that the former commissioner carried out.
Some analysts and media have been pointing out for years, that the attacks may have been intended to interfere with Catalonia’s independence referendum. Spain has always refused to investigate the matter.
On Tuesday, the Ghent Court of Appeals rejected the extradition request for Catalan language rapper, Valtònyc, arguing that the crimes he was accused of are protected as free speech. Spanish “justice” sentenced him to three and a half years in prison for his song lyrics for the alleged crimes of insulting the crown, glorifying terrorism, and making threats.
The rapper’s lawyer, Simon Bekaert, was confident that the magistrates would not extradite his client to Spain. He considered the crimes that the rapper was accused of were protected as free speech. “Victory! After three years of legal procedures, an appeal to the European Court of Justice and to the Belgian Constitutional Court, the Court of Appeals ruled that Valtònyc cannot be extradited. It was a good day for music and freedom of expression.”
Valtònyc said that on a personal level he was “happy,” but at the same time, he felt “very angry and very helpless” about his fellow artists who are serving time in Spain for the contents of their lyrics. “If Spain is a fascist state and it’s back in the 18th century, it is because it wants to be,” he added.
The Ghent Court of Appeals asked the Belgian Constitutional Court over a year ago if Valtònyc’s prosecution was in violation of the principle of free speech. As a result, the Belgian Constitutional Court struck down the 1847 country’s own law against slander of the monarchy in October 2021 and ruled that the crimes the rapper was accused of was free speech.