Sentenced Spanish Rapper Thought To Have Fled The Country Ahead Of Jail Term

– Valtonyc
Not silenced by his government

Spanish rapper Valtonyc, who has been sentenced to a three-and-a-half year prison term for insulting Spain’s monarchy, among other accusations, has reportedly fled the country.

Apart from insulting the king, Valtonyc, who’s real name is Jose Miguel Arenas, was accused of glorifying terrorism and advocating the use of violence in his lyrics, all of which got him the jail sentence, which was due to start May 24. However, according to a Guardian report, he is thought to have fled the country.

On May 23, Valtonyc  tweeted: “Tomorrow they will knock down the door of my house to put me in jail. For some songs. Tomorrow Spain  is going to make a fool of itself, once more. I’m not going to make it easy for them. Disobedience is legitimate and it’s an obligation when it comes to this fascist state. No one’s giving up here.”

Spain’s highest criminal court, the Audiencia Nacional, has issued a national and international arrest warrant against the man. “This is the normal system when someone who’s due to serve a sentence flees justice,” Spain’s justice minister Rafael Catalá is quoted as saying.

The Guardian translated some of Valtonycs lyrics. He for instance raps “let them be as frightened as a police officer in the Basque country,” which is a reference to the region’s terrorist group Eta. Other lyrics translate as “the king has a rendezvous at the village square, with a noose around his neck,” or “[former president of the Balearic Circle] Jorge Campos deserves a nuclear destruction bomb.”

Last year, a Twitter user joked about the killing of Spain’s former prime minister Luis Carrero Blanco in 1973, also by Eta. The user, a student by the name of Cassandra Vera, was sentenced to one year in prison.

A report released by Amnesty International in March found that “an exponential increase in the number of people falling foul of a Draconian law banning the ‘glorification of terrorism’ or ‘humiliating victims of terrorism’ is part of a sustained attack on freedom of expression in Spain.”

– Valtonyc
A tweet from the rapper suggests he has fled the country

Esteban Beltrán, Director of Amnesty International Spain, said, “people should not face criminal prosecution simply for saying, tweeting or singing something that might be distasteful or shocking. Spain’s broad and vaguely-worded law is resulting in the silencing of free speech and the crushing of artistic expression.”

Article 578 of the Spanish Criminal Code places fines, job bans and prison sentences on those deemed guilty of glorifying terrorism or humiliating the victims of terrorism or their relatives, which are, of course, very vague terms. According to Amnesty International,  the number of people charged under this Article increased from three in 2011 to 39 in 2017, and nearly 70 people were convicted in the last two years alone.