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Belgian appeals court rules out extradition for Spanish rapper Valtònyc
A Belgian appeals court has upheld a decision not to extradite the controversial Spanish rapper Valtònyc.
The 28-year-old musician — whose real name is Jose Miguel Arenas Beltran — has been living in exile in Belgium since 2018.
He faces three-and-a-half years in prison after being found guilty of writing lyrics that praised terror groups and insulted the Spanish royal family.
Ghent prosecutor Francis Clarysse told reporters the court's decision can be appealed to Belgium’s highest court, the court of cessation.
Tuesday’s ruling marked the fourth time that Spanish judicial authorities have had an extradition request denied.
Valtònyc’s case has become symbolic in Spain, where the authorities have been accused of cracking down on free speech.
The rapper — who originates from Palma de Mallorca — was sentenced to prison over songs he wrote when he was 18 years old.
The lyrics were deemed to have praised terror groups, threatened a Spanish politician with violence and insulted the royal family.
Spanish courts had rejected Arenas’ argument that rap lyrics are meant to be provocative and should be protected by free speech laws.
Belgium's judiciary has already said that the charges of "apology of terrorism" and "threats" were not grounds for his extradition.
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