Update: ASAP Rocky and Co-Defendants Allowed to Leave Sweden While Awaiting Verdict (set for August 14).
Sweden’a national public television broadcaster SVT reported on July 19 that the Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Carl Risch was in country to meet with A$AP Rocky and the other two detained US citizens. He reportedly also meet staff from the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Also see U.S. Sends Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs Robert O’Brien to A$AP Rocky’s Assault Trial in Sweden).
The report cites a statement from Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs saying that “Risch will, among other things, meet with representatives of the Foreign Office’s consular unit and the Justice Department, as well as in the role of consular officer in attendance at one of the US embassy’s previously scheduled visits to the three detained US citizens.” (via online translation).
The Foreign Ministry further writes according to SVT that “The US embassy has confirmed that the conditions in the Swedish detention comply with both the Vienna Convention and the international standard.” This in reference to a report by TMZ that A$AP was being held in “shockingly inhumane condition”.
A$AP Rocky was arrested in Sweden on July 3. The State Department previously announced on July 17 that CA’s Assistant Secretary Risch was traveling to Sweden from July 18-20 apparently to “observe U.S. consular operations and meet with foreign government counterparts to underscore the enduring commitment to the safety and welfare of U.S. citizens overseas and the facilitation of legitimate travel to the United States.”
The State Department’s own 2018 Country Report on Human Rights Practices on Sweden under Prison and Detention Center Conditions notes:
There were no significant reports regarding prison, detention center, or migrant detention facility conditions that raised human rights concerns.
Physical Conditions: There were no major concerns in prisons and detention centers regarding physical conditions or inmate abuse.
Administration: Authorities conducted proper investigations of credible allegations of mistreatment.
Independent Monitoring: The government permitted monitoring by independent, nongovernmental observers, including the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT).
In any case, the top gun at Consular Affairs already visited A$AP Rocky on July 19th. (Prior to Asst Secretary Risch’s visit, do you know when was the last time the assistant secretary of Consular Affairs made a prison visit overseas?).
When @StateSPEHA Robert O’Brien (the Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs) showed up in the Swedish courtroom on July 30 along with journalists, teenage rap fans and curious onlookers, the highest official in charge of Consular Affairs appeared to have already seen the three detained Americans. One specific embassy official also has a clear role and reporting duties in the arrest and detention of American citizens. We would be surprised if U.S. Embassy Sweden’s Charge d’affaires ad interim Pamela Tremont, or post’s Consular Chief have not already visited the detainees.
Since neither the Consular Affairs Assistant Secretary nor the Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs could sprung A$AP Rocky from jail, how useful are their presence in Sweden beyond appearances that they are doing something to get these individuals released?
Do we have senior officials actually thinking through the potential consequences of these actions — with senior officials descending into Sweden, and presidential tweets pressuring for the release of those in detention, plus the Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs tweeting about “expedited paperworks “?
Does anyone enjoy the appearance of giving in because of some very public arm-twisting? No?
It may interest you to know that Sweden is also the “protecting power” for the United States in North Korea and has been so since September 1995. These folks know hostages. Do you think Sweden appreciates the United States decision to send a Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs to a non-hostage situation there? Even if this case were to get resolved next week, do you think the Swedes will simply forget this?
We appreciate the decision of Swedish prison authorities to expedite paperwork & allow the parents of A$AP Rocky, David Rispers & Bladimir Corniel to visit their sons in the detention facility. The guards were professional & treated the family & US diplomats with respect.
— U.S. Special Presidential Envoy O’Brien (@StateSPEHA) August 1, 2019
— Facts straight, ASAP (@asapfactcheck) July 19, 2019
ASAP Rocky's lawyer Henrik Olsson Lilja says to SVT Kulturnyheterna that his client denies being held under inhumane conditions as reported by the American outlet TMZ #ASAPRocky #svtnyheter https://t.co/TSSZqZcFw6
— Mobergs reflektioner 🌹 (@MobergsR) July 11, 2019
Legal experts state 3 possible outcomes from trial:
1) Probation. Put in criminal record and set free.
2) Short prison sentence. This will be evened out with time held detained, setting him free.
3) Non-guilty. Entitled full compensation for lost income.https://t.co/UlMCk5L45w
— Facts straight, ASAP (@asapfactcheck) July 29, 2019
If ASAP Rocky is found non-guilty, he can receive 2 million dollars (16 million Swedish SEK) in damages for full compensation to lost income.https://t.co/tSK2wvA6Xq
— Facts straight, ASAP (@asapfactcheck) July 14, 2019
However, that doesn't matter anyway, because @SwedishPM has no say in Swedish court regardless. @realDonaldTrump asked for help by the government in a country where the government neither can or will interfere with any criminal justice case, ever. They've stated this repeatedly. https://t.co/LLCUgLVGyw
— Facts straight, ASAP (@asapfactcheck) July 22, 2019
The @SwedishPM’s press secretary Mikael Lindström just sent me this statement re: @realDonaldTrump’s tweets about @asvpxrocky: “In Sweden everyone is equal before the law.” #ASAPRocky pic.twitter.com/WNNmBXcw4O
— John Haltiwanger (@jchaltiwanger) July 25, 2019