USA: Rapper sues city, police over “unlawful” arrest for rap lyrics

Rapper Tiny Doo (real name: Brandon Duncan) filed a lawsuit against the city of San Diego and two police officers on 10 January 2017 for what he claims was his unlawful arrest in July 2014 on gang conspiracy charges.    The charges were based on rap lyrics about shootings and gang activity featured on Tiny […]

Angola: Rappers’ concerts cancelled, one shut down by police

Rappers Ikonoklasta (real name: Luaty Beirão) and MCK planned to hold joint concert ‘Ikopongo’ on 5 November 2016 at a venue in Angolan capital Luanda, but had to reschedule the event for the next day at a different venue after management cancelled the show; the relocated show was then shut down by police, reported Deutsche […]

France: TV channel censors political message on rapper’s T-shirt in new video

In an act that sparked public outrage on social media, French TV channel W9 decided to blur out rapper Black M’s T-shirt when airing his new video for his song ‘Je Suis Chez Moi’ due to a political message referring to a controversial death under police custody, reported Le Parisien on 19 September 2016. The […]

Police, drug law and non-state actors pose threat to artistic freedom in Tunisia

COPENHAGEN, 20 OCTOBER 2016 | In Tunisia, the country’s 2014 constitution guarantees the right to artistic freedom. Despite such guarantees, artistic freedom is not fully upheld and protected. Artists, often rappers, are exposed to threats, assaults, prosecution and imprisonment by Tunisian authorities, terrorist groups and other non-state actors, according to a new stakeholder submission to the […]

USA: Schools reverse radio station ban on buses

Portland Public Schools in the capital of US western state Oregon have gone back on their ban of particular radio stations on public school buses, which included radio stations playing rap music, reported Oregon Live on 30 August 2016. A memo sent out by director of student transportation Teri Brady on 9 March 2016 listed […]

Mauritania: Rapper harassed and attacked by police

Police stopped Mauritanian rapper Yëro Gaynääko (real name Yéro Abdoulaye Sow) on 16 August 2016 while on the road back to the capital Nouakchott, forcibly removing the rapper out of the car, accusing him of being drugged and taking him to a police station where he was assaulted and verbally abused, reported human rights organisation […]

Malaysia: Artist detained over allegedly “insulting Islam” in music video

Police detained Malaysian artist Namewee upon his return from being abroad on 21 August 2016 at the Kuala Lampur airport and are investigating him after groups filed reports that his latest music video “insulted Islam”, reported The Star Online on 22 August 2016. “Malaysian authorities must release Namewee and drop all charges against him,” said Freemuse […]

Malaysia: Rapper threatened with censorship and arrest

Police plan to arrest rapper Namewee (real name Wee Meng Chee) when he returns to Malaysia over his recent video for a song he performed with Taiwanese hip hop trio Jiu Yi Yi (Nine One One) called ‘Oh My God’, which has allegedly insulted religion, reported Free Malaysia Today on 2 August 2016. Penang police […]

Tanzania: Rapper banned from music industry indefinitely

The Tanzanian National Arts Council (Basata) banned popular rapper Nay wa Mitego (real name Emmanuel Elibariki) from participating in the music industry indefinitely due to “immoral content” in his latest song ‘Pale Kati Patamu’, reported Tanzanian news outlet The Citizen on 28 July 2016. “We have barred him from performing in Tanzania indefinitely,” Basata executive […]

USA: Anti-Donald Trump song censored

US presidential nominee Donald Trump and the secret service demanded changes be made to two songs by rapper YG on his latest album released in June 2016 for anti-Trump lyrics, reported entertainment news outlet Vulture on 16 June 2016. The two censored songs – ‘FDT’ (an abbreviation for Fuck Donald Trump) and ‘Blacks and Browns’ […]

Saint Kitts and Nevis: US rapper arrested, fined for profane lyrics

Local police in the Caribbean island nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis arrested US rapper 50 Cent (real name Curtis Jackson) on 25 June 2016 for using “indecent language” onstage during one of his songs. The rapper later pleaded guilty to the offence, paid a fine of USD $1,100 and was released, reported Rolling Stone […]

Central African Republic: Rapper beaten by army general

In early June 2016, Central African Republic rapper Vey-Zo was beaten at a bar in the capital city of Bangui by army general Roman Guitizia, put into the trunk of a car and taken to an army base where he was further tortured, according to information posted by civil society organisation Arterial Network on 30 […]

France: Mayor cancels WWI centenary concert over rapper’s “anti-France” lyrics

Verdun city mayor Samuel Hazard cancelled French rapper Black M’s concert commemorating the 100-year anniversary of WWI’s Battle of Verdun due to protests fuelled by far-right website’s fdesouche.com post on the rapper’s “anti-France” and homophobic lyrics, reported French radio station RFI on 14 May 2016. The site, along with National Front party members, in particular […]

Nigeria: Broadcast authority blacklists yet another one of rapper’s songs

Nigerian hip hop star Olamide has had a fourth song, ‘Don’t Stop’, placed on the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) blacklist in less than a year, reported The Net on 16 March 2016. In a statement, NBC said it banned the song from the country’s airwaves due to its “obscenity, being indecent, [and having] vulgar languages, […]

Angola: Rapper Luaty Beirão sentenced to over five years in prison

On 28 March 2016, the prominent Angolan rapper Luaty Beirão was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison for planning a rebellion against President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, reported several news sources. 34-year-old Luaty Beirão was sentenced to 5.5 years for “rebellion against the president of the republic, criminal association and falsifying documents” by the Luanda […]

USA: Rapper sent back to prison for allegedly threatening attorney in song

Rapper and alleged gang member Sean Chung, who was out on bail for murder conspiracy and gun charges, was sent back to prison on 22 February 2016 for a song he posted on YouTube in November 2015 in which he allegedly threatened a Queens, New York district attorney, reported New York Daily News on 7 […]

Morocco: Prosecuted rapper cleared of all charges

The Moroccan rapper Al Muntaqim was arrested in August 2015 accused of inciting violence and drug abuse through his song ‘Korsika’. On 9 December 2015 the court cleared him of all charges. In August 2015, the Public Prosecution at the Court of First Instance in Khenifra city in Morocco instructed the judicial police to immediately […]

China: Malaysian rapper told to make no controversial statements

The Malaysian rapper Namewee (real name: Wee Meng Chee) has become the latest to join a growing number of artists and brands facing limitations on their performance in China. Namewee posted a statement on Facebook on 19 October 2015 that he had been forced by his Hong Kong concert promoter to declare that he wouldn’t […]

Morocco: Rapper prosecuted over song deemed insulting

The Moroccan rapper Al Muntaqim was arrested in August 2015 and accused of inciting violence and drug abuse through his song ‘Korsika’. He has been released, but his court case is still pending. In August 2015, the Public Prosecution at the Court of First Instance in Khenifra city in Morocco instructed the judicial police to […]

Tunisia: Rapper Klay BBJ released from custody

The Tunisian rapper Klay BBJ was released from custody on 21 October 2015 after having been detained over the weekend on suspicion of “possession and use” of cannabis, his lawyer was quoted as saying by various media. Freemuse welcomes the news which was confirmed by Freemuse’s partner in Tunisia, CIHRS. “He has just been released, […]

Tunisia: Calls for the release of arrested rapper Klay BBJ

On 17 October 2015, the public prosecution of the Court of First Instance in Tunis permitted National Security officers in Bab Swika district to arrest the rapper Klay BBJ (real name: Ahmed Ben Ahmed) along with two other men. They were allegedly apprehended for possession of drugs. The news agency AFP quoted a judicial source […]

Angola: Freemuse calls for immediate release of detained rapper

On 15 October 2015, the 33-year-old Angolan rapper Luaty Beirão entered his fourth week of hunger strike in protest of his detention without trial since June – along with 14 other opposition activists accused of ‘rebellion’ and of seeking to ‘attack the president’. Freemuse holds the Angolan authorities responsible for Luaty Beirão’s well-being and calls […]

Burkina Faso: Music studio in capital bombed after coup

Studio Abazon in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, was attacked in the early hours of 17 September 2015, allegedly targeted by coup soldiers because of the activism of its owner, rapper Smockey. The studio is owned and run by top Burkinabe rapper and revolutionary artist, Serges Martin Bambara – also known as Smockey (or […]

Morocco: Rapper El Haqed – besieged, alienated and oppressed

Freemuse interview with the Moroccan rapper El Haqed, who was awarded with the 2015 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Award for Arts. By Shaima Aly Mouad Belghouat (also spelled: Belrhouate) is better known under his artist name, El Haqed – the now world-famous Moroccan rapper and human rights activist who criticises the widespread poverty […]

Gambia: Rapper forced to flee after song criticising president goes viral

A few days after Gambian rapper Killa Ace (real name: Ali Cham) released a song critical of the Gambian regime, he started receiving threats that lead him to flee the country. In the song, entitled ‘Ku Boka C Geta G’, Killa Ace speaks against social injustices, oppression, corruption and lack of freedom of expression under […]

Tunisia: No investigation into attack on a local rapper

How freedom of expression is oppressed through financial, moral and psychological pressure and damages is Tunisian rapper Hamadi Dia’s story. Today, Freemuse publishes his account of what he is going through because of the music and lyrics he produces. By Shaima Aly, Freemuse “Those groups succeeded in their mission to shut me up and get […]

Morocco: Police blocks concert with rapper El Haqed

On 19 June 2015, a concert with the Morrocan rapper El Haqed was called off with 48 hours notice by the police in Casablanca. Right before the beginning of the show, Police allegedly blocked streets leading to the venue and asked the local power provider to cut electricity. The concert was organised at L’Uzine, a […]

Morocco: Rapper speaks out after release from prison

After four months behind bars, the Moroccan rapper Abdul Mou’men Al Shuaibi was released in February 2015. Freemuse spoke with Al Shuaibi about his ordeal and his plans for the future.  Back in 2013, Al Shuaibi had released a rap song, entitled ‘zan9a lkahla 2013 Chorta Fe Lara’ criticising the local police, their alleged violent practices […]

Sweden: Rap group’s concerts cancelled after free speech controversies

Hip-hop flirting with political violence causes controversy and debate around the world. The Swedes have recently been having a thorough public discussion about where to draw the line between illegal hate speech on one side, and artists’ democratic right to express themselves on the other. Here is a run-down of Kartellen’s free speech journey in […]

France: Verdict of three years imprisonment to rapper in Marseilles

The court in Marseilles summoned the French-Algerian rapper Lacrim (real name: Karim Zenoud), but he didn’t show up in court. He was consequently given status as a fugitive and sentenced in absentia to three years imprisonment. Lacrim was charged in court because of the video for his song ‘Viens, je t’emmène’, in which he uses […]

Morocco: Rapper Al Shuaibi reportedly released from prison

After six months imprisonment at the Civil Prison in El Araich city, the Moroccan rapper Al Shuaibi was set free on 27 February 2015, reported larache24.com. After his release from prison, Al Shuaibi made a public statement to larache24.com, saying that he will proceed with his “call for justice and rights” in his next songs, […]

USA: Hip-hop artist prosecuted for rapping about shootings

The rapper Tiny Doo was charged with “criminal street gang conspiracy” over a music album, ‘No Safety’, reflecting gang culture. Tiny Doo (real name: Brandon Duncan) has no criminal record and says he has no knowledge of the crimes, which involved several shootings in San Diego from May 2013 to February 2014. But the district […]

Cuba: Rapper ‘El Critico’ released from prison

After nearly two years in prison, Cuban rapper Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga, best known as ‘El Critico’ from the underground hip-hop duo The Unwanted Children, has been released, along with several other political prisoners across the island. Remon was sent to prison in March 2013 after a violent, allegedly government-organised, mob attacked his home in […]

South Africa: Call for ban of song allegedly romanticising violence

South Africans discuss whether the song ‘Larney Jou Poes’ by Cape Town band Dookoom is political hip-hop or hate speech: When does an artistic expression of anger become incitement to violence or “romanticising” of imminent violence? ‘Larney Jou Poes’ was published on youtube.com on 15 October 2014. It was viewed more than 50,000 times during […]

Morocco: 17-year-old rapper released after three months imprisonment

Othman Atiq, a 17-year-old Moroccan rapper known as Mr Crazy, was released on 12 November 2014 after completing a three-month sentence for “offending a state institution,” “harming public morality,” and other offenses related to his lyrics.
 Atiq, whose songs and music videos depict the gritty lives of Casablanca’s unemployed youth, is the second performer in […]

Morocco: Rapper El Haqed speaks of freedom and flaws

If the Moroccan authorities meant to silence the dissident Moroccan rapper El Haqed by locking him up in a prison cell on trumped up charges, it didn’t work. The first thing he wanted to do when he stepped out in freedom after four months imprisonment was go to the studio and record more of the […]

Morocco: Dissident rapper Mouad El Haqed released

Having served his third prison sentence since Morocco’s February 20th Movement uprising started, Morocco’s dissident rapper Mouad Belghouat known by his stage name El Haqed has been released from Ain Borja prison in Casablanca on 18 September 2014. By Nadir Bouhmouch, Freemuse Arrested on 18 May 2014, El Haqed was charged by a lower Casablanca […]

Morocco: Imprisoned rapper El Haqed on two-day hunger strike

On 13-15 August 2014, the Moroccan rapper and member of the 20 February protest movement did a 48-hour hunger protest against “humiliating treatment” in prison, reported Huffington Post. Relatives said that El Haqed (also spelled: Lhaqed. Real name: Mouad Belghouat) undergoes considerable psychological pressure from the staff of the prison. On 1 July 2014, El […]

United Kingdom: Two concerts with Ugandan rapper cancelled

Ugandan rapper Bobi Wine (real name: Robert Kyagulanyi) has had two planned performances in the UK pulled after venues learned of the singer’s anti-LGBTI stance, reported Gay News Network on 31 July 2014. A theatre in London and a venue in Birmingham have refused to host upcoming shows by the rapper after news surfaced the […]

Morocco: Open letter to Moroccan minister about El Haqed

The Moroccan rapper Mouad Belghaoute – also known as Lhaqed or El Haqed, ‘the enraged one’ – was sentenced on 1 July 2014 to four months in prison amid concerns that the trial was unfair, and that he is being held because of his popularity and lyrics that condemn corruption and police brutality. Arrested on […]

Morocco: Take action against El Haqed’s unfair prison sentence

Take action to help create public pressure for the immidiate release of the Moroccan rapper Mouad Belghaoute – also known as Lhaqed or El Haqed, ‘the enraged one’: El Haqed was sentenced on 1 July 2014 to four months in prison amid concerns that the trial was unfair, and that he is being held because […]

Morocco: Rapper sentenced to four months in prison

The Moroccan rapper Mouad Belghaoute – also known as Lhaqed or El Haqed – has been sentenced to four months in prison. He is furthermore to pay a fine of 1,350 euros to the two police officers he was accused of attacking. An accusation of selling tickets in the black market was removed. The verdict […]

Senegal: Rapper Fou Malade acquitted in court

The prosecutor had asked for six months imprisonment to the rapper Fou Malade but eventually, the judge didn’t listed to him and gave him his freedom. Fou Malade – whose real name is Almamy Malal Talla – was detained after having delivered a speech where he said some controversial remarks about the Senegalese Minister of Interior […]

Senegal: Rapper faces six months in prison for criticising authorities

On 19 June 2014, at a ceremony in the suburbs of Dakar on the mobilisation against drugs, Fou Malade, one of the rappers from the Y’en a marre movement (‘Enough’s enough’), said aloud to the Senegalese Minister of Interior and to the Director General of Police what everyone thinks quietly. His remarks led him straight […]

Morocco: Rapper in trial that seems to never end

Within just one week, the Moroccan rapper El Haqed has appeared twice at the trial court of Ain Sebaa, Casablanca. After which the trial was postpone once again, this time until Tuesday 17 June 2014. By Dounia Benslimane, reporting from Casablanca Accused of illegal ticket sales, of being influenced by alcohol in public and of […]

Morocco: El Haqed’s hearing postponed

On 5 June 2014, Mouad Belghouate, the Moroccan rapper known as El Haqed or Lhaqed, passed by the trial court of Ain Sebaa in Casablanca, Morocco, for the third time since his arrest on 18 May 2014. Freemuse attended the hearing. By Dounia Benslimane, reporting from Casablanca At the entrance of the building, plain clothes […]

Tajikistan: As Tajik rap gets political, authorities resort to bans and pressure

The mayor of Dushanbe, Tajikistan banned rap and rock music from the capital’s buses, minibuses (marshrutkas), and taxis, suggesting that the genre was “alien to national and universal human values,” earlier this year. The initiative received the full backing from the country’s Minister of Education who stated that tunes which “do not conform to national […]

Morocco: Interview with attorney of arrested rapper El Haqed

The detained Moroccan rapper El Haqed will stand trial again on 29 May 2014. Freemuse talked with El Haqed’s attorney, Mohemed Messoudi, who provides new information about the case.  By Daniel Brown   Could you describe the circumstances of El Haqed’s arrest? “Haqed was arrested on Sunday 18 May at around 2pm along with his […]

Morocco: Rapper El Haqed arrested again

The Moroccan rapper El Haqed – also known as ‘L7a9ed’ – has been arrested again by Moroccan authorities, reported BelmKaddem. Belmkaddem – 19 May 2014: Moroccan Rapper El Haqed – L7a9ed – Arrested again by Moroccan Authorities By repetitively arresting and beating an artist who doesn’t sugar-coat Morocco’s dark side, and uses rap as a […]

USA: Open letter against censorship of hip-hop artists in Portland

In an open lettert to Portland’s music community, Casey Jarman, managing editor of The Believer, former music editor of Willamette Weeks and co-founder of Party Damage Records, speaks out against what he calls “a systematic attempt to silence local hip-hop artists.” Source:  www.wweek.com » See also: Hip-Hop Stopped The tension between Portland rap artists and police […]

Cuba: Rappers persecuted – beaten, ransacked, arrested

Excerpt of blog-post by John Suarez at cubanexilequarter.blogspot.com: “The importance of generating and maintaining attention is critically important for anyone who dissents from the official government line. Rodolfo Ramirez, known by his rapping name as El Primario, member of the hip-hop duo El Primario y Julito, who appears in the above video was so badly […]

New Zealand: American rappers banned from entering the country

Rappers Odd Future from Los Angeles have been banned from entering New Zealand after officials decided they pose a threat to public order. In an official statement, Immigration New Zealand explained that the rappers had been “deemed to be a potential threat to public order and the public interest for several reasons, including incidents at […]

USA: Bun B addresses rap lyrics being admissible in court

Bun B was asked to speak to the American tv-channel MSNBC about rap lyrics, freedom of expression and racial and social profiling. With the New Jersey Supreme Court set to consider whether rap lyrics of a criminal defendant should be admissible in a court of law, Bun B was asked about how this issue is […]

Tunisia: Rapper Weld El 15 has been freed

On 19 December 2013, the Tunisian rapper Weld El 15 was acquitted on appeal of singing songs insulting to the police and has been freed, according to his lawyer and his mother. The case against Weld El 15 (real name: Ala Yaacoubi) goes back to August 2013, when Weld El 15 and fellow rapper Klay […]

Sweden: Public broadcaster excludes hit rap song from playlists

Because of ‘violent lyrics’ and a ‘stance against the Sweden Democrats and the Moderates’, the song ‘Black Doves and Wilted Lilies’ (‘Svarta duvor och vissna liljor’) by Timbuktu (real name: Jason Diakité) and Sebbe Staxx (real name: Sebastian Stakset) will not be included on the national Swedish radio’s playlists and is thus practically banned from […]

Tunisia: Rapper Weld El 15 appeal hearing

Tunisian rapper Weld El 15 will spend the next four months in prison, unless he wins the appeal filed by his attorney on 9 December 2013. On 5 December, the 25-year-old artist was sentenced for performing songs deemed insulting to police. The Hammamet court ordered him taken straight to his cell. According to Tunisia rap […]

Tunisia: Freemuse condemns imprisonment of rapper Weld El 15

Rapper Weld El 15 (real name: Ala Yaacoubi) was sentenced four months imprisonment after he turned himself in to a court in Hammamet on 5 December 2013. Freemuse condemned the verdict. “Tunisia should live up to international conventions guaranteeing free speech,” said Freemuse Director Ole Reitov. Weld El 15 was sentenced in absentia earlier in […]

Iran: Popular rapper arrested by Morality Police

Iran’s Morality Police have arrested popular rapper Amir Tataloo. Colonel Massoud Zahedian, Chief of the Morality Police, told ISNA that his unit is actively identifying and confronting Iranian underground musicians who produce their work inside Iran and distribute it on television satellite channels abroad. Zahedian added that following the arrest, Amir Tataloo (real name: Amir […]

India: Rap song about corruption asked to be removed from film

‘Eggjactly’, a rap song about corruption composed, written and sung by Jaaved Jaaferi, is banned form televison by the censor board – and might also be banned altogether from the film ‘Jackpot’. See on www.hindustantimes.com You can listen to the song on youtube.com Jaaved Jaaferi gives an introduction on live tv to his song, ‘Eggjactly’ India […]

Tunisia: Rapper receives four-month reprieve on sentence

Rappers Men-Ay (real name: Aymen Feki), and Mister Mustapha (real name: Mustapha Fakhfakh) have been prosecuted for their alleged role in clashes with the police, “insulting a public official in the exercise of his duties” and “breaching good morals” – offenses punishable respectively by one year or six months in prison, according to the Tunisian […]

Mauritania: Two rappers detained and interrogated

Security forces detained rapper and singer Leïla Moulay (also spelled: Laila Moulaye) on 13 November 2013, one day after rapper Hamzo Bryn was taken into custody. The detention came in response to their 28 September 2013 online release of a video titled ‘It started from Nouakchott’ by Hamzo’s group Soco Izi, which provoked a wave […]

Tunisia: New union to defend rappers’ freedom of expression

Tunisian rap artists have launched a labour union to defend their interests and promote their art. The ‘National Rap Union’ will be linked to the General Confederation of Tunisian Workers and intends to “raise the level of urgency of files concerning the defence of freedom of expression.” This was reported by Magharebia on 15 October […]

Tunisia: Rapper Klay BBJ acquitted after three weeks in prison

On 17 October 2013, an appeals court overturned the conviction of rapper Klay BBJ on charges of “insulting the police,” Human Rights Watch reported. A district court had sentenced Klay BBJ (real name: Ahmed Ben Ahmed) to six months in prison for performing lyrics it deemed “insulting” at a summer music festival. “It’s great to […]

Tunisia: Rapper sentenced to six months in prison

Tunisian rapper Klay BBJ has been sentenced to six months in prison for insulting the authorities in his songs, reported several news agencies on 26 September 2013. That is 15 months less than the sentence he was first given in August 2013. Klay BBJ (real name: Ahmed Ben Ahmed) lost his appeal case after he […]

Greece: Rapper murdered

On the night of 17 September 2013 approximately 25 Golden Dawn neo-nazis murdered the 34-year-old rapper Pavlos Fissas, known as ‘Killah P’, in Keratsini, a working class neighborhood in Piraeus, Athens. » Information can be found in Twitter.com: @antireport, #antireport, #KillahP » This is one of his songs on youtube.com, roughly translated as ‘I won’t […]

Swedish city offers Gaza rapper safe city residency

Video interview with rapper Khaled Harara from Palestine who the Swedish city of Gothenburg has announced will be offered a ‘safe city’ residency for two years. In April 2013, the 26-year-old rapper Khaled Harara came to the Freemuse secretariat in Copenhagen. Having toured Denmark, he was afraid of returning to his home in Gaza. Khaled […]

Tunisia: Two rappers convicted to 21 months in prison

Two Tunisian rappers, Weld El 15 and Klay BBJ, have been given 21 month jail terms in absentia for insulting officials, their lawyer said on 4 September 2013, criticising the ruling as a new attack on freedom of expression. This was reported by AFP. The trial took place on 30 August 2013 without the rappers […]

Tunisia: Rapper Weld El 15 set free with a reduced sentence

An agreement was reached to “end the prosecution of Weld El 15 in return for an apology to security officials,” according to National Union of Professional Tunisian Singers. Instead of the two-year prison sentence handed down on 13 June 2013 for his song ‘Boulicia Kleb’, the 25-year-old artist (real name Ala Yaacoub) received a six-month […]

Tunisia: Rapper sentenced to two years imprisonment, violence in court

On 13 June 2013, the Tunisian rapper Weld El 15 was (again) sentenced to two years in prison for insulting the police in a song. Weld El 15, who had previously been in hiding, turned himself in and was immediately taken into custody. Cries were raised in the court room when the verdict was announced. […]

Tunisia: Artists imprisoned because of rap video

Actress Sabrine Klibi and cameraman Mohamed Hedi Belgueyed were sentenced to six months in prison for their participation in the music video ‘Cops are Dogs’, reported Tunisia Live. At the Court of First Instance of Ben Arous, a southern suburb of Tunis, the artists were charged according to five articles of the Tunisian Penal Code […]

Morocco: Rapper El Haked is finally free

After being arrested twice and serving a one year jail term for his critical lyrics ‘Kilab ed-Dowla’ (‘Dogs of the State’), Mouad Belghouat, whose alias is El Haked (also spelled: Haqed), is finally free, reported Jadaliyya on 2 April 2013. El Haked’s trial attracted huge crowds and brought international and national scrutiny on the supposed […]

Tunisia: Rapper and video team charged for hate speech, two arrested

Mohamed Belgueyed, the owner of a video camera, and actress Sabrine Klibi were taken into custody on 10 March 2013 for their connection to the new music video ‘Cops are Dogs’ by Tunisian rapper Weld El 15. The video was uploaded to YouTube on 3 March 2013: The rapper, Weld El 15, (real name: Ala […]

Azerbaijan: Rapper arrested, allegedly for song criticising police

“We strongly condemn the detention and harassment of popular Azerbaijani rapper Said Aliyev, also known as Dado, and consider this action as unlawful interference with his right to freedom of expression,” wrote The Art for Democracy campaign in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, on 4 March 2013. On 27 February 2013, Said Aliyev was called […]

France: Rap lyrics targeted

The French Minister of the Interior Manuel Valls wants to fight “aggressive” rap lyrics attacking the state, insulting the flag and women. This is the conclusion after a member of the senate had chosen to question him on the subject of what she called “absolutely unprecedented violence against France”. Manuel Valls first responded that “rap […]

Russia: 25-year-old rapper stomped to death

In Arkhangelsk, a city in Northern Russia, a man was stomped to death on 17 February 2013 for rapping at a sports bar. Alexei Gorlishchev, 25, was rapping at the local Bookmaker Pub, sparking the ire of some patrons, the Lifenews.ru tabloid reported. One of the critics, Artyom Furzikov, 21, offered the rapper to “take […]

Colombia: Ten rappers murdered for criticizing the system

Ten rappers have been murdered in the last two years in the Colombian city Medellín. Their “crime”: that they volunteered to help getting young people away from paramilitary groups and drug gangs. 14 rappers have gone underground, and even more fear for their lives, reported the Danish newspaper Arbejderen. An article in the Danish newspaper […]

Fear, threats and self-censorship among Syrian rappers

Syrian rappers are split about how to engage in the fronts of an uprising that have turned to civil war. President Bashar al-Assad’s fear-based society is making everyone think twice.   Refugees of Rap, a group of rappers from the Palestinian refugee camp Yarmouk in Syria, has a new album ready for release about a […]

Morocco: Rapper El Haked’s sentence upheld in court of appeal

On 27 July 2012, the Casablanca court of appeal upheld the one year prison sentence given to rapper El Haked in May. The court confirmed that his police-critical song circulating on Youtube together with a ridiculing photo-montage was ‘detrimental to public servants’.  24-year-old rapper Mouad Belghouate, known as El Haked

Angola: Rapper arrested for drug smuggling: ‘I was framed’

Luaty Beirão, a popular Angolan rapper known by the artist name Ikonoklasta, has been beaten up, arrested, his house broken into, his girlfriend kidnapped, and his family has been terrorised with anonymous death threats. On 11 June 2012, he was arrested again – this time at Portela Airport in the Portugese capital Lisboa after customs […]

One year prison sentence for Morrocan rapper who criticised police

The sentencing of a rapper on 11 May 2012 to one year in prison for “insulting the police” shows the gap between the strong free-expression language in Morocco’s 2011 constitution and the continuing intolerance for those who criticise state institutions, Human Rights Watch stated. Statement and report from Rabat by Human Rights Watch The sentence […]

Death threat against Germany-based Iranian rapper

After the exiled Iranian rapper and rock guitarist Shahin Najafi released a controversial song entitled ‘Imam Naghi’, an Iranian cleric issued a death sentence (fatwa) against him, a news site in the country started a campaign calling for his assassination, and a religious site issued a reward for killing the Iranian musician. The song ‘Imam […]

 

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