A$AP Rocky gets suspended sentence

Agence France-Presse . Stockholm | Published: 00:00, Aug 16,2019


A$AP Rocky

A Stockholm court on Wednesday convicted US rapper A$AP Rocky of assault and gave him a suspended sentence over a street brawl, a case that outraged fans and sparked a diplomatic spat with US President Donald Trump.

The 30-year-old rapper, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, and two members of his entourage were found guilty of assaulting a 19-year-old in a fight in central Stockholm on June 30.

The court rejected their claims they had acted in self-defence, but said a prison sentence was not warranted.

The three, who were in the Swedish capital for a concert, ‘assaulted the victim by hitting and kicking him as he lay on the ground,’ the court wrote in its verdict.

‘The artist also threw the victim to the ground and stepped on his arm,’ it said.

But, it added, the three were ‘not in a situation where they were entitled to self-defence’, and ordered them to pay the victim a total of 12,500 kronor (1,200 euros, $1,300) in damages.

The three were also ordered to pay the plaintiff’s legal costs of 201,526 kronor (18,800 euros, $21,000).

Mayers was not present in Stockholm for the verdict. His lawyer, Slobodan Jovicic, told AFP he was ‘disappointed’ by the ruling.

‘We had hoped for an acquittal,’ he said, adding that Mayers had not decided whether to appeal. 

Prosecutor Daniel Suneson had called for a six-month prison sentence for Mayers and two of his crew.

Considered a ‘flight risk’, Mayers was held in custody for a month while the case was investigated and throughout his trial.

But he was released after the close of proceedings on August 2, pending the verdict, and immediately returned to the United States on board a private jet.

Fans, fellow artists and even Trump had called for his release -- with the US president’s intervention drawing complaints from Swedish politicians.

US Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Robert C. O’Brien was dispatched by Trump to attend the trial, who told reporters: ‘The president felt they shouldn’t have been detained, they were stalked.’

An online petition called #JusticeForRocky also garnered more than 640,000 signatures and supporters were urged to boycott Swedish brands such as Ikea.

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