Reuters Stockholm, Sweden
Jul 26, 2019, 05.59 PM
Sweden on Friday dismissed an angry outburst from United States President Donald Trump after prosecutors charged US rapper A$AP Rocky with assault, saying the country's judicial system was independent of political interference.
Best known for his song "Praise the Lord", the 30-year-old performer, producer, and model, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, was detained about three weeks ago following a street altercation with two men in Stockholm on June 30. A$AP Rocky, who was charged on Thursday, will go on trial next week.
Trump, who last week urged Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven to free A$AP Rocky, fired off tweets on Thursday saying he was "very disappointed" in Lofven and demanding: "Treat Americans fairly!"
Very disappointed in Prime Minister Stefan Löfven for being unable to act. Sweden has let our African American Community down in the United States. I watched the tapes of A$AP Rocky, and he was being followed and harassed by troublemakers. Treat Americans fairly! #FreeRocky
A spokesman for the Swedish government said on Friday the government would not get involved in the case.
"Sweden and Prime Minister Stefan Lofven have been very clear in the dialogue with both the White House and directly with the American president, that in Sweden everyone is equal before the law and that the government cannot interfere in legal proceedings," the spokesman said in a text message.
Mayers has said he is innocent and that the men provoked him and his two companions, who have also been charged with assault. If convicted, they could face up to two years in jail.
Trump has said he would personally vouch for Mayers' bail. Sweden does not have a bail system.
Former prime minister Carl Bildt told the daily Aftonbladet that Lofven was right not to comment further on the case.
"I think it's right of the government not to go into a mud wrestling match with Trump. That is his element, and should not be Sweden's," Bildt said.
Mayers, also known by the pseudonym Lord Flacko, was in Stockholm to perform at the Smash hip-hop festival. His arrest forced him to cancel a dozen shows scheduled as part of his Europe tour.
Donald Trump has said he would personally vouch for Mayers' bail. Sweden does not have a bail system.