The case of the US rapper accused in sweden asap rocky develops into a diplomatic exchange between washington and stockholm. US president donald trump criticized the swedish government via twitter, saying it had done nothing for his compatriot. He was "very disappointed" with head of government stefan lofven for his inability to act, trump wrote on thursday evening.
In stockholm they reacted with a nuchterne reference to the independence of the judiciary. Neither the government nor parliament was allowed to interfere in the work of courts and prosecutors in sweden, lofven explained. "In sweden, everyone is equal before the law, and no one is above it."This had been made clear also to the weiben house.
Lofven had already explained the independence of the swedish judiciary to the us president in a phone call just under a week ago. But this message apparently did not catch on with trump: "sweden has failed our african american community in the united states," he raged on twitter. He said he had seen footage that showed rocky being pursued and harassed by "troublemakers". "Treats americans fairly!", the US president demanded, adding the hashtag #freerocky to the mix. The rapper has to take back his freedom.
The swedish prosecutor’s office had filed charges of assault against asap rocky and two of his companions on thursday. The 30-year-old musician was arrested after a performance at the stockholm "smash" festival for allegedly beating up a man on the street a few days earlier. The brawl was captured in a video incriminating the musician.
In it, rocky violently throws a young man to the ground and, along with his companions, beats him to a pulp. The musician himself claimed to have been chased by two men and was merely defending himself. "He considers himself innocent," his lawyer slobodan jovicic said on thursday. The trial starts already next tuesday.
Trump’s relationship with sweden has been a strange one from the beginning of his presidency. Just one month after taking office, he referred to the scandinavian country at a rally in florida in february 2017. "Look at what happened in sweden last night!" He shouted to his supporters at the time in connection with terrorist attacks and what he saw as sweden’s misguided immigration policy.
The swedes were surprised at the time – there had been no attack on them at all. They then simply dragged the whole thing into the ridiculous: under the hashtag #lastnightinsweden they reported on social networks about what had happened in sweden the night before, for example that an ikea cupboard had been set up incorrectly or that a beer had been drunk. Ex-governor carl bildt asked publicly: "sweden? Terrorist attack? What was he smoking?"
Also this time bildt found clear words for trump. The principle of the rule of law applies to everyone and underlies an independent judiciary, bildt tweeted on friday. "That’s the way it is in the U.S., and it’s certainly the way it is in sweden. Political interference in the process is clearly forbidden! Clear?"In another tweet he added: "if donald trump tries to obstruct justice in his own country, he will be in serious trouble with the principles of the u.S. Constitution."
The rapper’s case has made immense waves internationally in recent weeks. Stars like reality tv personality kim kardashian and pop singer justin bieber had demanded rocky’s release, trump intervened with said call to lofven.
Trump’s current offensive may have less to do with his love of hip-hop, but more to do with domestic politics. He seems eager to improve his standing with african americans.
In the 2016 presidential election, only eight percent of african american voters voted for trump; the overwhelming majority at the time voted for his democratic rival hillary clinton. It was not a surprise: the community traditionally votes for democrats. Trump is nevertheless trying to boost his approval ratings among african-americans.
The president has also long lacked the support of prominent artists. Hollywood celebrities and musicians regularly criticize trump and his policies. A little gratitude from the world of hip-hop would come in handy. He is obviously not afraid of verbally attacking a foreign government.
The U.S. President generally has an idiosyncratic relationship with the judiciary. He has often criticized individual judges at home for disagreeable rulings and accused them of partiality. It’s actually taboo for heads of state and government to challenge or question the independence of the judiciary – at least in democracies.