SPAIN is making a desperate last-ditch legal bid to have a Mallorcan rapper extradited from Belgium after a court there refused an appeal.

Belgian prosecutors – acting on behalf of their Spanish counterparts – have lodged an appeal to allow the extradition of Josep Miquel Arenas, known as Valtonyc, after a court in Ghent dismissed the case earlier this week.

A new hearing will be held on January 11.

The musician was sentenced to three-and-a-half years for lyrics in his songs which were published online nine years ago.

He was accused of praising the Basque terrorist group ETA, and the defunct anti-fascist group GRAPO, which saw charges linked to the exaltation of terrorism.

Spanish authorities also accused him of insulting the monarchy.

Valtonyc has consistently defended his lyrics, arguing that they were covered by his freedom of expression and made use of provocative and symbolic language.

The Belgian court ruled that he had exercised his freedom of expression, therefore, his lyrics could not be considered a crime.

It said there is no crime in Belgian law equivalent to “exalting terrorism” and, last October Belgium’s Constitutional Court repealed a law from 1847 that made insulting kings a crime, saying it violated the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as clashing with freedom of expression.

After Tuesday’s ruling Amnesty International called on Spain to change its human rights laws, demanding that it “amends its legislation so it complies with international human rights standards” and remove the two crimes from its criminal code, because they “unduly restrict freedom of expression”.

It said the ruling was “excellent news for freedom of expression”.

The rapper added: “The court has declared that mine is a case of freedom of expression, as did the first instance court judge.

“I feel powerless and enraged, but I will continue to fight for this right.”

He also thanked supporters and members of his legal team on social media: “First they ignore you, then they laugh, then they attack you and finally, you win.

“Thanks to those who have supported me since my arrest in 2012, from my exile to 2018, to the legal team.

“Belgian society can be happy that the right of expression, the freedom to express oneself, has been respected.”