Fri 15 Jan 2016
Yasiin Bey, the Brooklyn rapper formerly known as Mos Def, has found himself in another spot of legal trouble in his adopted home of South Africa.
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According to AP, Bey was arrested at Cape Town International airport on Thursday (January 14) for “violating local immigration laws while trying to leave the country.” The rapper, who entered the country on an American passport three years ago and has since overstayed his visitor’s permit, produced an unrecognized “world passport” at the airport.
The Department of Home Affairs has given Yasiin Bey 14 days to leave South Africa. He also faces a five-year ban from the country, but may appeal to officials for leniency, said the Department of Home Affairs spokesman Mayihlome Tshwete.
Bey ran into similar trouble back in 2014 when he was banned from re-entering the United States due to “immigration and legal issues.”
UPDATE: Okayafrica reached out to Yasiin Bey’s “official representative,” who claims the allegations are false.
What is your take on the allegations?
From what I’ve read their allegations are wrong. He attempted to leave the country for a professional commitment and was denied the ability to board an airplane after providing his World Passport.
Why does he have a World Passport?
It’s issued by the World Service —in support of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. His understanding is that the South African government has previously accepted the World Passport to enter the country and to provide visas as recently as August.
Are there political reasons he prefers not to use his US passport?
Social and political, yes. He shouldn’t be forced to use his US passport.
Was he attempting to leave the country?
He was leaving with two people. He was heading to the Selam Music Festival [in Ethiopia]. He was scheduled to perform on the 10th. He tried to leave on the 9th but they wouldn’t let him board the plane. They violated his human right to pursue his profession.
How long was detained for?
He was detained for two nights at least.
What is his position now?
He’s down there to produce and to act in some motion pictures, three of which are slated to film in South Africa this year.
Is he in the country legally?
It’s my understanding that he is.
Is his family in the country legally?
They may have stayed past their visa term, however, his arrest is because of the claim that he was allegedly using a false and fraudulent document.
Why not use a US passport?
He considers himself a world citizen and wanted to to use his World Passport in support of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
Although South Africa did not sign the declaration in 1948 — probably because they were governed by Apartheid at the time — Nelson Mandela believed it was a necessary document for the continued growth of South Africa after the abolishment of Apartheid.
Does he believe the US guilty of human rights violations?
Generally speaking, various state and local law enforcement bodies have violated the most fundamental human right — that is the right to life of several young, unarmed, black men.