ASAP Rocky should be enjoying his summer in the midst of his European tour, but instead, he’s incarcerated in Sweden, facing up to six years in jail for aggravated assault. Rocky and three members of his entourage were arrested on July 2 after he got into a physical altercation with a man who he filmed following his group and trying to pick a fight. Though the video footage shows the Harlem artist trying to verbally defuse the situation multiple times before punches were thrown, Swedish officials detained him, and he could be held for up to two weeks as they decide whether to charge him.
Rocky has now joined Meek Mill, 21 Savage, and many others as rappers who are facing unjust treatment at the hands of the law. Meek Mill has had to contend with America’s treacherous probation system for over a decade, while 21 Savage is fighting deportation in an ICE case. Rocky’s legal woes are taking place in Sweden, a country that in 2018 let G-Eazy walk without jail time for fighting nightclub bouncers with coke on him — but apparently considers Rocky’s self-defense a bigger threat to society.
Swedish officials have arguably violated Rocky’s human rights throughout his legal ordeal. A simple review of the video that Rocky posted would prove that the man followed Rocky and his team for over four blocks, despite Rocky telling him to go away because he didn’t want to risk fighting him and going to jail. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. Rocky turned himself in to Swedish police, who detained him.
Sweden then reportedly violated the Vienna Convention for Consular Relations treaty by not allowing Rocky to meet with a US Consulate official upon his arrest, as is custom when an American is arrested in the country. It took two days for the jail to grant the Consulate access to Rocky, for reasons that aren’t apparent.
What’s also up in the air is the exact nature of Rocky’s current confinement. ASAP Ferg announced on Instagram that his brother-in-rhyme Rocky is “in [Sweden] locked up in solitary confinement with no visit or phone call privileges.” Rocky’s manager John Ehmann wrote in a Change.org petition that the artist is dealing with “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.”
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He’s in Sweeden locked up in solitary confinement with no visit or phone call privileges. They are trying to keep him there for 2 weeks and if convicted he will be looking at 6 years just for defending himself in a fight. He was no way in form the aggressor in this ordeal. Pray for justice #freeflacko
TMZ, America’s leading bastion of sensationalism, reported that Rocky is in a “horrific” facility with only a yoga mat to sleep on and inedible food. They also claimed that he’s not in solitary confinement, but bunking with a cellmate who throws his feces around the cell. Rocky’s lawyer Henrik Olsson Lilja spoke to Swedish outlet SVT on Tuesday. While Lilja’s comments didn’t refute the latest TMZ report, which he said he didn’t read, he said that Rocky is in a “common detention,” has access to edible food, and has no restrictions on who he can talk to.
Lilja’s claims that Rocky’s treatment is “common” may not be any solace if he’s indeed in solitary confinement. There are “common” injustices all over the world. Criminal justice reform activists in America are aiming to abolish solitary confinement because studies show the torturous isolation induces “visual and auditory hallucinations, hypersensitivity to noise and touch, insomnia and paranoia, uncontrollable feelings of rage and fear, distortions of time and perception,” and more degrading effects.
There are conflicting reports about the nature of Rocky’s incarceration, but most people agree with his lawyer that it was the initial arrest that was inhumane. Sweden has a deserved reputation for being a model for criminal justice reform and actually aims to rehabilitate the people they incarcerate.