The United States government sent a letter to Sweden warning of “negative consequences” in the relationship between the countries if Sweden did not release the rap artist ASAP Rocky from prison.
The rapper, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, went on trial for assault this week along with two other men, David Rispers and Bladimir Corniel. They were released on Friday at the conclusion of the trial while a verdict is pending.
The letter, which was dated July 31, was signed by Robert O’Brien, special envoy for hostage affairs.
Mr. O’Brien wrote to Swedish officials that “the government of the United States of America wants to resolve this case as soon as possible to avoid potentially negative consequences to the U.S.-Swedish bilateral relationship,” according to NBC News, which obtained a copy of the letter.
Mr. O’Brien, who was sent to Sweden by President Trump, called for the “immediate humanitarian release” of the men, who were being held at Kronoberg Remand Prison, and suggested they be held in a local Stockholm hotel pending the outcome of the case.
In a letter dated Aug. 1, Petra Lundh, prosecutor-general of Sweden, responded that according to the Swedish constitution, a prosecutor works independently, and she could not interfere in the case or influence the prosecutor assigned to it, NBC reported.
“Furthermore, when a person is charged and the case is brought before a court, only the court can decide, during or after the trial, whether or not to release the person or decide on supervised detention,” Ms. Lundh wrote.
Days earlier, Mr. Trump went on a Twitter tirade against Sweden’s prime minister, Stefan Lofven, over Rocky’s detention.
The rapper was jailed in June after he and his co-defendants were involved in an altercation with a 19-year-old man named Mustafa Jafari and a friend.
During testimony in his three-day trial, Rocky said he had asked Mr. Jafari to leave him alone, and the man had refused. A brawl had ensued, and footage of Rocky punching and kicking Mr. Jafari went viral. Rocky claimed he had acted in self-defense.
Per Lennerbrant, the judge overseeing the case, said Rocky, Mr. Rispers and Mr. Corniel could remain free while awaiting the verdict, which is expected on Aug. 14.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of my fans, friends and anyone across the globe who supported me during these last few weeks,” Rocky wrote on Instagram on Friday.
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