Josep Miquel Arenas (Valtonyc) sentenced for insults and threats.

24-02-2017Miquel A. Cañellas

Sa Pobla-born Josep Miquel Arenas, better known as Valtonyc, has received a sentence of three and a half years for lyrics in which he levelled insults against the crown and expressed support for terrorist groups. He has also been ordered to pay 3,000 euros for threats made against the president of the Circulo Balear, Jorge Campos.

Arenas was seventeen when in 2012 he was denounced by Campos for the song that used the title of his organisation. Other lyrics were then condemned, and the case finally came before the Audiencia Nacional in Madrid earlier this month. Arenas protested that he was a poet and an artist, but the court determined that the right to freedom of expression is limited if it conflicts with constitutional interests, such as by inciting violence or discrimination. The right to freedom of expression, said the court, is "not absolute".

There has been plenty of support for Arenas. The leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, has criticised the sentence, saying that lyrics regarding the former king, Juan Carlos, should not be a crime. Arenas explained in court that the Circulo Balear song had been performed on the television programme that Iglesias once presented and had indeed been requested by Iglesias.

Més in Majorca, while saying that they do not share the views expressed in his songs, argue that the attack on freedom of expression challenges the credibility of the judicial system, especially when "real criminals and the corrupt are treated with benevolence" (a reference in all likelihood to the outcome of the Nóos trial).

The sentence can be taken to appeal at the Supreme Court.

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