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Sweden to decide on rapper A$AP Rocky charge

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Stockholm (AFP)

Swedish prosecutors will decide Thursday whether to charge rapper A$AP Rocky, whose detention on suspicion of assault has caused furore among his fans and attracted the attention of President Donald Trump.

Since the New York rapper's detention in early July, fans and numerous music stars have waged a social media campaign to demand his release.

The 30-year-old artist, real name Rakim Mayers, was arrested on July 3 along with three other people, following a street brawl in Stockholm on June 30. One of them, the rapper's bodyguard, was later released.

On July 5 the Stockholm District Court ordered that Mayers should be kept in custody while the case was investigated as he was considered a "flight risk".

The court originally gave the prosecutor two weeks to decide on whether to press charges, but then granted a week-long extension.

This means the prosecutor, Daniel Suneson, will need to make a decision by 11:00 am (0900 GMT) on Thursday, or request another extension from the court.

If the prosecutor requests an extension, it will require another hearing to keep Mayers in custody.

If he decides to press charges, the rapper can be kept in custody until the trial, which must be held within two weeks.

Assault carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail in Sweden.

- #FreeRocky -

Mayers' lawyer Slobodan Jovicic did not want to comment ahead of the prosecutor's decision, but has previously stated that if the case went to trial, he was confident Mayers would be acquitted and allowed to return home.

The rapper has claimed he was acting in self-defence.

Since his arrest, fans, fellow artists and US Congress members have campaigned for the artist to be freed.

An online petition called #JusticeForRocky has garnered more than 620,000 signatures, and posters emblazoned with "Free A$AP Rocky ASAP" have been put up around Stockholm.

Artists including Post Malone, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Nicki Minaj, Meek Mill and Justin Bieber have all voiced their support for Mayers, with rapper Tyler, the Creator saying he would no longer perform in Sweden.

Trump also got involved in the case over the weekend, contacting Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven directly.

Trump on Saturday tweeted that he had called Lofven and been assured that A$AP Rocky would 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.

Lofven's press secretary Toni Eriksson confirmed that the call had taken place and told AFP that "the Prime Minister was careful to point out that the Swedish justice system is completely independent".

Mayers was born in New York and had a breakthrough in 2011 with the release of the mixtape "Live. Love. A$AP". He followed that up in 2013 with the debut album "Long. Live. A$AP".

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