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Spanish rapper given jail for 'glorifying terrorism' vows to 'disobey'

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Spanish rapper given jail for 'glorifying terrorism' vows to 'disobey'
A poster at a protest against the Gag Law. File Photo: AFP
10:19 CEST+02:00
A Spanish rapper whose three-and-a-half-year sentence for "glorifying terrorism" and insulting the crown caused an outcry said Wednesday he would defy authorities just a day before he was due in prison, amid reports he may have fled the country.

Jose Miguel Arenas Beltran -- better known as Valtonyc -- was sentenced last year for lyrics that Spain's National Court felt warranted prison, and the Supreme Court upheld this in February.

LATEST: Spain issues international arrest warrant for fugitive rapper amid free speech row
 
 
Lyrics included: "Let them be as frightened as a police officer in the Basque Country" and "the king has a rendez-vous at the village square, with a noose around his neck."

The reference to the Basque Country hinted at violence by ETA, the separatist group that for decades staged scores of attacks across Spain that left hundreds of officials and civilians dead.

The 24-year-old also sang against Jorge Campos, the former president of the Balearic Circle, a foundation that fought against the imposition of the Catalan language in the Balearic Islands, where Valtonyc comes from.   

Lyrics included: "Jorge Campos deserves a nuclear destruction bomb" or "I will pull out his artery and everything else necessary."   

Valtonyc had been freed on bail until his prison entry deadline, due Thursday.

But on Wednesday, he posted a cryptic tweet: "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, it's legitimate and an obligation to disobey this fascist state. Here, no one surrenders."   

Several local media in the Balearic Islands and neighbouring Catalonia said he had fled Spain, with reports that he was meeting lawyers in Brussels, but there was no official confirmation. 

Concerns have mounted over the past few months as several Twitter users and rappers have been judged -- and some of them jailed -- for glorifying terrorism or insulting the king for comments or lyrics.

In March, Amnesty International said a Spanish law banning "glorification of terrorism" had created a "chilling" environment in which people are increasingly afraid to express alternative views or make controversial jokes.

But other legal experts stress free speech has its limits.   

It's "not permission to say whatever one wants," said Antonio Torres del Moral, constitutional law specialist.

READ ALSO: Javier Bardem sounds free speech warning in row over 'blasphemous' vagina

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