Mos Def avoids SA trial over pass­port

African Independent - - SHOWBIZ -

AMER­I­CAN rap­per Mos Def has left South Africa and not re­turn. Def left af­ter an out-of-court agree­ment terms of which he avoided fac­ing charges in a South African court for us­ing a so-called “world pass­port” .

The 42-year-old hip hop artist and ac­tor, whose birth name was Dante Smith but who has used the name Yasiin Bey for the last five years, was ar­rested in Cape Town in Jan­uary af­ter try­ing to leave South Africa on his un­of­fi­cial pass­port.

End­ing months of court hear­ings and post­pone­ments, the gov­ern­ment an­nounced that charges against him would be dropped af­ter he apol­o­gised and agreed to fly out of the coun­try. “This is clearly a vin­di­ca­tion of the po­si­tion we had taken on this mat­ter, in­clud­ing the fact that we do not recog­nise the world pass­port,” the SA Home Af­fairs de­part­ment said in a state­ment.

“Mr Smith Bey has ap­plied for and will be trav­el­ling out of the repub­lic on a US pass­port.”

It added he would be de­clared an “un­de­sir­able per­son”.

Mos Def was ar­rested at Cape Town air­port while at­tempt­ing to board a flight to Ethiopia. He was freed on bail of $350.

He had en­tered South Africa with a le­git­i­mate US pass­port last year, but tried to leave us­ing a “World Gov­ern­ment of World Cit­i­zens” pass­port.

The World Gov­ern­ment of World Cit­i­zens was es­tab­lished in 1953 by the late peace ac­tivist Garry Davis, an Amer­i­can who re­nounced his cit­i­zen­ship af­ter World War 2.

“I haven’t bro­ken any law. And I’m be­ing treated like a crim­i­nal,” he said in a mes­sage re­leased via su­per­star rap­per Kanye West’s Twit­ter feed at the time of his ar­rest.

In his ac­claimed hip-hop ca­reer Mos Def has pro­duced clas­sic solo songs as well as al­bums with Talib Kweli in the duo Black Star.

Both Wik­iLeaks founder Ju­lian As­sange and in­tel­li­gence leaker Ed­ward Snow­den are re­ported to be holders of world pass­ports, which are not of­fi­cially recog­nised. – AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.