A Belgian appeals court has upheld the decision not to extradite controversial Spanish rapper Valtònyc.
The 28-year-old musician, real name Jose Miguel Arenas Beltran, has lived in exile in Belgium since 2018.
He faces three and a half years in prison after being found guilty of writing lyrics praising terrorist groups and insulting the Spanish royal family.
Ghent prosecutor Francis Clarysse told reporters that the court’s decision could be appealed to Belgium’s highest court, the tribunal de cessation.
Tuesday’s decision marks the fourth time that Spanish judicial authorities have been denied an extradition request.
Valtònyc’s case has become symbolic in Spain, where authorities have been accused of cracking down on free speech.
The rapper – from Palma de Mallorca – was sentenced to prison for songs he wrote when he was 18.
The lyrics were said to have praised terrorist 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.
Belgian justice has already declared that the charges of “apology for terrorism” and “threats” were not grounds for his extradition.