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Belgium stands up for freedom of speech in Spain

by IdiotSavant Tue Sep 18th, 2018 at 02:57:33 AM EST

Back in February, Spain sentenced rapper Valtonyc to three and a half years in prison for insulting the monarch. He promptly fled the country. Now, a Belgian court has refused to extradite him:

A Belgian court on Monday ruled that Spanish rapper Valtonyc should not be sent back to Spain, where he was sentenced to prison accused of writing lyrics that praise terror groups and insult the royal family.

The rapper, whose real name is Jose Miguel Arenas Beltran, was supposed to turn himself in voluntarily in May to authorities in Spain, where he faces prison sentences totaling three and a half years, but instead fled to Belgium.

"The judge has decided there will be no extradition and discarded all three charges," his lawyer, Simon Bekaert, told reporters near the court in the city of Ghent.

Bekaert said the judge ruled "there is no terrorism involved, there is no incitement of terrorism, so there is no question of a crime according to Belgian law." He said the judge also found that there is no crime to answer to over insulting the Spanish king and that no threat was made that could warrant extradition.

The Spanish government can still appeal, but success looks unlikely. Unfortunately, rather than accept that their laws are increasingly out of step with fundamental human rights, and will no longer be upheld or respected by other European courts (including the ECHR), Spain will probably double down on them and try and make them even more oppressive.

Spanish government withdraws diplomatic status to Flanders delegate in Spain  

The Spanish government has withdrawn the diplomatic status to the Flanders delegate in Spain, André Hebbelinck, due to the recent Flemish parliament speaker comments including that the nine Catalan jailed leaders are "political prisoners."

The chamber president, Jan Peumans, also said that Spain "is incapable of complying with the conditions to be part of a democratic Europe."

According to the Spanish foreign minister, Josep Borrell, his remarks were "unacceptable" and "inappropriate" for an "ally country such as Belgium."

Borrell's office said in a statement that the withdrawal of the diplomatic status of Hebbelinck means that he can still continue working as a delegate in Spain, but without the privileges and immunities of a diplomatic agent. And if he is replaced, the person taking over his post would not have diplomatic status either.

Negotiation of Spanish budget 'impossible' with 'political prisoners,' says Catalan president

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Wed Oct 17th, 2018 at 07:15:11 PM EST

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