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Swedish prosecutor says US rapper ASAP Rocky to be tried for assault

AFP  |  Stockholm 

A Swedish prosecutor said Thursday that US rapper ASAP Rocky will be tried for assault over a June street brawl in a decision likely to infuriate fans already indignant over his three weeks in custody.

"Today I have pressed charges against the three suspects for assault, because in my judgement what has happened amounts to a crime, despite the objections about self-defence and provocations," prosecutor Daniel Suneson said in a statement.

The 30-year-old rapper, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, was arrested on July 3 along with three other people, following a street brawl in Stockholm on June 30. One of them, the rapper's bodyguard, was later released.

Part of the brawl was captured in an amateur video published by US celebrity outlet TMZ.

The rapper later published videos of his own to Instagram purporting to show the lead up to the fight.

Mayers has claimed he was acting in self-defence, saying he was responding to harassment and provocations by the plaintiff.

But Suneson said in his statement that "I have had more material to consider than what has been available on the internet.

In addition to the videotaped material there is support for the plaintiff's account through witness interrogations."

On July 5 the Stockholm District Court ordered that Mayers should be kept in custody pending investigation of the case as he was considered a "flight risk".

The court originally gave the prosecutor two weeks to decide on whether to press charges, and later granted a week-long extension.

Suneson's decision to press charges means the rapper can be kept in custody until his trial, which must be held within two weeks.

Mayers can request to have his detention reviewed by the court and argue for conditional release until the trial is held.

Assault carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail in Sweden.

Mayers' lawyer Slobodan Jovicic has previously stated that if the case went to trial he was confident his client would end up being acquitted and allowed to return to the US.

Since his arrest, fans, fellow artists and US Congress members have campaigned for the artist to be freed.

US President Donald Trump also got involved, contacting Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven directly to discuss the case.

Trump on Saturday tweeted that he had called Lofven and been assured that ASAP Rocky would be "treated fairly".

"Likewise, I assured him that ASAP was not a flight risk and offered to personally vouch for his bail, or an alternative," Trump added.

Lofven's press secretary Toni Eriksson confirmed the call had taken place and told AFP that "the prime minister was careful to point out that the Swedish justice system is completely independent".

An online petition called #JusticeForRocky has garnered more than 620,000 signatures, and posters emblazoned with "Free ASAP Rocky ASAP" have been put up around Stockholm.

Artists including Post Malone, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Nicki Minaj, Meek Mill and Justin Bieber have all voiced their support for Mayers, with rapper Tyler, the Creator saying he would no longer perform in Sweden.

Mayers was born in New York and had a breakthrough in 2011 with the release of the mixtape "Live. Love. A$AP". He followed that up in 2013 with the debut album "Long. Live. A$AP".

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, July 25 2019. 14:40 IST
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