As A$AP Rocky remains in the custody of Swedish authorities, U.S. officials have released a statement calling for police overseas to treat him “fairly.”
The 30-year-old rapper, born Rakim Mayers, was arrested for suspected "gross assault" in Sweden on July 2 following a street fight days earlier and has been jailed ever since, pending formal charges. His lawyer recently claimed that the rapper is being held in a prison where conditions are “inhumane” and “horrific,” and has launched a petition demanding his release.
While U.S. officials have not directly condemned the alleged treatment, a spokesperson for the United States Department of State has confirmed that their office is aware of the case and is keeping a close eye on proceedings, Politico reported Sunday.
“There are certainly some facts about the arrest and detention that raise concerns,” their statement reads. “We expect all governments, including Sweden, to treat American citizens fairly and with respect. … We hope to see ASAP Rocky and his colleagues back on tour and reunited with friends and family soon.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been briefed on the situation, as has Robert O’Brien, the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs; O’Brien is one of numerous high-ranking officials who are keeping a close watch on the rapper’s detainment, the spokesperson reportedly said.
A$AP Rocky will remain jailed until Friday, at which point prosecutors must either formally charge him or request that a court extend his detainment, Politico reports.
Footage from the June 30 fight that led to A$AP Rocky’s arrest has been shared online, with a number of clips being posted by the rapper himself before he was taken into custody. In many of the videos, two men can be seen following A$AP Rocky and his entourage as they walk through the streets of Stockholm. At one point, his bodyguard can be heard urging the men to leave them alone, telling them to “go that way.”
In what appeared to be another attempt to deescalate the situation, A$AP Rocky addresses the men, telling them, “We don’t want to fight you all, we’re not trying to go to jail.”
He later wrote on social media that one of the men who followed him on the street hit his security guard in the face with a pair of headphones and continued to follow them.
Footage obtained and published by TMZ shows an eventual brawl that broke out in the street, with A$AP Rocky and his crew hitting the men in what the rapper’s lawyer later called self-defense. The two men “followed, harassed, and physically assaulted” Rocky, his lawyer wrote in an online petition calling for his freedom.
The petition also accused Swedish authorities of keeping the "Fashion Killa" rapper housed in an “inhumane” facility.
“The conditions of the facility are horrific,” the petition reads. “Some of the inhumane conditions Rocky and his colleagues are facing at the Stockholm Detention Center include 24/7 solitary confinement, restriction of amenities for the most basic of human functions, access to palatable and life sustaining food as well as unsanitary conditions.”
If prosecutors are able to successfully request another extension, the rapper may be held until a trial begins next month, according to his lawyer.
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