The Brussels Court of Cassation Orders Extradition Re-Trial of Catalan Speaking Language Rapper Valtònyc

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.

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