Valtonyc, a Spanish rapper who fled his country for Belgium after being sentenced by the courts to a prison sentence for advocating terrorism, returned to Spain on Sunday. Jose Miguel Arenas Beltran, known under the stage name Valtonyc, left for Belgium in 2018 after being sentenced in Spain to three and a half years of deprivation of liberty for not only advocating terrorism but insulting the crown and uttering threats in his texts. The case sparked controversy, with human rights organizations like Amnesty International saying his free expression rights had been violated and Spain's attempts to extradite him being denied. of Belgian justice.
The 29-year-old rapper was able to return to Spain on Sunday because the sentence handed down against him had expired due to the statute of limitations, his lawyer told the press. Valtonyc hugged his family members upon arrival at the main airport of Mallorca, a Balearic island where he is from, according to images posted on social media.
Then, during a welcome ceremony attended by some 200 people in Sineu, a town in the center of this island, he thanked his admirers, assuring that he had “not felt alone, not even a single day. “The worst part of exile is thinking that you have been forgotten, that you are alone and that what you have experienced was of no use,” he said.
Jose Miguel Arenas Beltran was convicted for texts and songs published online in 2012 and 2013 when he was a little-known Balearic rapper. “Let them be frightened like a police officer in the Basque Country,” said one of his texts. “The king has an appointment in the village square, with a noose around his neck,” the rapper also chanted.
The reference to the Basque Country was understood as an approval of the violence of the Basque separatist organization ETA, which has carried out attacks for decades resulting in a total of more than 800 deaths. His texts divided public opinion in Spain, with some saying that he would not have been sentenced to prison in any other democratic country, and others believing that freedom of expression had limits.