A Congressman is now advocating for A$AP Rocky's release from a Swedish jail
On July 3, the rapper A$AP Rocky was arrested in Stockholm on assault charges. Since then, reports have circulated that he is being held in a jail with notoriously inhumane conditions, leading to everyone from Justin Bieber to Nicki Minaj to call for his release. On July 10, New York Congressman Adriano Espaillat announced that he had sent several letters to the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Embassy in Sweden, and the Swedish Ambassador in Washington advocating for Rocky's freedom.
Since the musician's arrest, over 500,000 people have signed a Change.org petition urging Sweden to release him from jail. The petition alleges that Rocky was denied access to counsel upon his arrest, and that he and two of his bodyguards are being held in "horrific" conditions that include constant solitary confinement and lack of access to basic necessities The Swedish government, however, has denied the allegations.
Rocky was arrested the day after a video of him and his bodyguards beating up a man in the streets of Stockholm was posted to TMZ. However, in an extended video that Rocky posted to his Instagram account, footage seems to show that the man that the star and his bodyguards hit had allegedly been following and harassing the group for an extended period of time beforehand.
It is unclear how much longer Rocky will be held in jail, but since his arrest, he has been forced to cancel several European tour dates, including a headlining appearance at London's Wireless Festival, according to Dazed.
"ASAP Rocky is being detained in a Swedish jail for an unknown period of time for acting in self-defense during an altercation that took place," Rocky's management said in a statement. "Due to this unfortunate situation he is forced to cancel his European festival and tour dates in July."
The star's continued detention is something that Espaillat, for one, has said he plans on fighting. The Congressman told Complex that he became involved in Rocky's case after a few constituents reached out to him about Rocky's detainment in Sweden. "I represent Harlem, and he’s a constituent of mine in Harlem," Espaillat explained. "But I’ve also gotten folks who have approached me about it in the last couple of days. So I looked into it and felt I should do something about it."
The letters that the politician has sent to various government agencies include reference of the allegation made in the petition that Sweden violated Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, meaning that Rocky was reportedly denied the opportunity to speak with the U.S. Consulate following his arrest. "It is concerning that this right was not extended to him," Espaillat told Complex.
While Espaillat might have the most political power in the struggle to free Rocky, he's certainly not the only well-known name in the fight. Stars like the aforementioned Bieber and Minaj, as well as Naomi Campbell, Post Malone, 2 Chainz, and Kid Cudi, have posted their support of Rocky with the hashtag #JusticeForRocky. The musician's longtime friend and collaborator Tyler, The Creator tweeted "no more sweden for me, ever," seemingly in reference to the situation, and Schoolboy Q also said that he wouldn't be visiting Sweden again following Rocky's ordeal.
Sheck Wes, meanwhile, detailed his own unpleasant encounter with Swedish police, and Vince Staples wrote a post in which he seemed generally unimpressed by Sweden all together.
As of right now, it's unclear what will happen next for Rocky. On July 9, a judge ruled that he could be held in jail for up to two more weeks, and his court date could be as late as August. With so much international pressure for his release, however, it's possible that the Swedish government might choose to not keep Rocky in jail much longer.