Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt rebuked President Donald Trump on Friday for demanding A$AP Rocky’s freedom, warning him not to interfere in the country’s legal process on the American rapper’s behalf.
“The rule of the law applies to everyone equally and is exercised by an independent judiciary,” Bildt tweeted. “That’s the way it is in the US, and that’s certainly the way it is in Sweden. Political interference in the process is distinctly off limits! Clear?”
Bildt’s tweet came in response to Trump’s statement that he was “very disappointed” that Prime Minister Stefan Löfven could not help the artist, who was arrested on July 3 for his alleged involvement in a Stockholm street fight.
On Thursday, Rocky, whose legal name is Rakim Mayers, was charged with assault and will be kept in custody until his trial, Swedish prosecutors said.
“Sweden has let our African American Community down in the United States,” Trump tweeted Thursday night. “I watched the tapes of A$AP Rocky, and he was being followed and harassed by troublemakers. Treat Americans fairly!”
Though it is not completely clear what occurred during the June 30 altercation, videos posted on Rocky’s Instagram page show he and his entourage were being followed by two men on the street. Though Rocky asks them to leave, they continue trailing behind. At one point, there is a brief scuffle during which one of the men throws an object at Rocky’s associate. “We don’t want to fight y’all,” the rapper tells the men on the video.
Footage obtained by TMZ shows a far more graphic conflict in which Rocky appears to throw a man to the ground, beating him with the help of his associates.
Rocky, who was in Sweden as part of his tour with his hip-hop group A$AP Mob, claims he was acting in self-defense.
Prosecutor Daniel Suneson told Reuters that although he takes provocation into account, “I still believe that what they have done constitutes a crime.”
“The artist is the one who threw the victim to the ground and then, together with two other suspects, dealt him blows and kicks,” he said. “A bottle was used during the assault and there are cuts on the arms and (on) the plaintiff’s ear.”
Last week, Trump spoke with Löfven about the matter, tweeting that the two had a “very good call” and that he was assured “American citizen A$AP Rocky will be treated fairly.”
“Likewise, I assured him that A$AP was not a flight risk and offered to personally vouch for his bail, or an alternative,” Trump added, although Sweden does not have a bail system like the U.S.
Appearing to throw cold water on the president’s hopes of securing the rapper’s freedom, the prime minister’s spokesperson noted that Löfven “made sure to point out that the Swedish judicial system, prosecutors and courts, are completely independent.”
“He also pointed out that everyone is equal before the law and that the government neither can nor will try to influence the judicial process.”