The US State Department has raised concerns about the arrest and detention of a US rapper in Sweden and is urging the Swedish government to treat him fairly.
“There are certainly some facts about the arrest and detention that raise concerns”, a State Department spokesperson said, as quoted by Politico. “We expect all governments, including Sweden, to treat American citizens fairly and with respect. <…> We hope to see ASAP Rocky and his colleagues back on tour and reunited with friends and family soon”.
The spokesperson stressed that the department was aware of the case and that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been briefed. Top officials at the department, including Robert O’Brien, the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs, are also closely monitoring the situation and working to make sure the rapper is treated fairly.
A$AP Rocky's lawyer, Alan Jackson, stressed that President Trump “has made bringing home unjustly held Americans a top priority for his administration”. According to him, the State Department’s interest in the case gives “great hope” for Rocky’s situation.
“Secretary Pompeo and Ambassador O’Brien have been relentless in their diplomatic efforts on behalf of American citizens being held all over the world. Rocky’s millions of fans worldwide are putting their trust in the State Department to get Rocky home”, he said.
Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), whose district includes Rocky's Harlem, said the rapper was “clearly provoked, harassed, followed, and accosted” which forced him to “act in self-defence”. He also pledged to “fight until he’s brought back home”.
Former US ambassador to Sweden, Mark Brzezinski went so far as to suggest that the attack against the black rapper was racially motivated, as the assailants didn't appear to be after money.
Last week, the US site TMZ's gut-wrenching description of A$AP Rocky's miserable existence at Kronoborghäktet detention centre, with inedible food, dirty water and fetid conditions, triggered an international petition to free the rapper. Despite Swedish efforts to disprove the publication, the #JusticeForRocky petition was shared by fellow celebrities, including Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj and Shawn Mendes, and amassed close to 600,000 signatures. Fellow rappers, such as Tyler the Creator even pledged not to visit Sweden.
no more sweden for me, ever— Tyler, The Creator (@tylerthecreator) 8 июля 2019 г.
The Swedish prosecution have time until Friday to decide whether to charge Rocky, or prolong the detention time.
Y’all this is the type of jail cell ASAP Rocky is being kept in and this is the type of food he’s being fed. His people are lying about the conditions he’s being kept in. 😒 #ASAPRocky #FREEASAPROCKY pic.twitter.com/Ti7tNKumaU— ✌🏽 (@DopealiciousJ) 10 июля 2019 г.
Rocky and his entourage got in a street brawl on 30 June while visiting the Smash music festival in Stockholm. According to a person close to the rap star, they were verbally harassed by two men who had been following them. One of them admittedly “took a fighting stance and threw a punch” at the rapper's bodyguard, after which a skirmish ensued, as the crew “had no choice but to defend themselves”.
This version is supported by the rapper himself.
“So a few drug addicts are not my fans, we don't know these guys and we didn't want trouble, they followed us for 4 blocks, and they were slapping girls butts who passed, give me a break”, he wrote.
Another video Rocky posted shows one of the men fighting with his bodyguard and throwing his headphones at him.
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