African-American rapper ASAP Rocky's lawyer Henrik Olsson Lilja has announced that his client denies being held under inhumane conditions as previously reported by the US media.
ASAP Rocky has been held in Stockholm since 2 July and is under investigation for assault and battery. For the first three days, ASAP Rocky was kept in a custody cell. Since then he has been moved to a detention centre. The American news outlet TMZ reported his conditions as “inhumane”, which the artist himself denies, according to Henrik Olsson Lilja.
“He has never spoken to TMZ or anyone outside about the conditions when he was first detained and kept in custody. He was treated then, and is treated now, correctly,” Lilja told national broadcaster SVT. He added, however, that his client experienced the conditions in custody as “very plain” and has perceived a “smell of urine in his cell”. “He was lacking in appetite when he was first arrested, but he tries to eat,” he argued.
Henrik Olsson Lilja said that ASAP Rocky had met with staff from the US consulate.
Earlier this week, the US site TMZ described ASAP Rocky's existence at Kronoborghäktet detention centre as utterly miserable. The article stated, among other things, that the food was inedible, the water dirty and that a man from the cell next to ASAP Rocky threw feces around him.
While the Swedish authorities denied the information, the article was widely disseminated, triggering a petition to release the rapper, which at the time of writing has amassed over half a million signatures.
The “inhumane” conditions” claim was later widely ridiculed.
Meanwhile, former US ambassador to Sweden Mark Brzezinski demanded that the Swedish government or the royal house should intervene in the case of ASAP Rocky (real name Rakim Mayers).
Brzezinski, the son of the legendary political scientist and presidential adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and the brother of MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski, saw a racist undertone in the brawl involving ASAP Rocky and suggested that the artist was “clearly provoked”, yet acted with “great restraint”.
Brzezinski called it a “race-related injustice” that may seriously damage Sweden's reputation abroad, which rests on the defence of human rights and equality.
“If you watch the movie clips, you see that the attackers who go at Rocky and his team don't seem to be looking for money. They want to hurt them. I do not know what motivates them, but it seems that they are racially hateful people," Brzezinski told Dagens Nyheter.
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ASAP Rocky is an American rapper, record producer, model, actor, and music video director. He is a member of the hip hop group A$AP Mob, from which he adopted his moniker.
In July 2019, he was arrested for aggravated assault in Stockholm after a concert, after he and his entourage were involved in a brawl on 30 June, apparently involving people of non-Swedish descent. The artist's ongoing tour was put on hold for the trial. Due to the perceived risk that he flees or tampers with evidence, ASAP Rocky may be kept in custody until August.