• Sweden edition

Rappers cleared of incitement charge

Published: 16 Apr 2007 13:32 GMT+02:00
Updated: 16 Apr 2007 13:32 GMT+02:00

The trial of Alexander Nordbring and Emil Göransson - better known as Emilush & Caustic - lasted lass than an hour at Lund District Court on Monday morning.

While noting that freedom of speech has its limitations, the court ruled that legislation should not be used to curtail the rights it encompasses.

Alexander Nodbring, 22, was confident when approached on his way to court.

"I think we're going to win. If I feel like it I'll write similar lyrics again," he said.

There were around ten fans in place outside the courtroom to offer the duo their support.

Emil Göransson had no regrets about the events that led to the court case.

"Absolutely not. Whatever way it turns out, I'm the one who has earned most from it," he said.

The media attention generated by their court case has led to 20,000 people downloading their new album.

"That wouldn't have happened without the charges," said Göransson.

The pair's day in court came about as a result of a performance at the southern town's Rotrocken festival last summer.

Just as a uniformed police patrol appeared close to the stage, Emilush & Caustic began rapping "everybody in Landskrona hates the police" and "we're going to start a war with the cops".

The two police officers in question had been tasked with keeping an eye on proceedings at the festival, according to newspaper Helsingborgs Dagblad.

A jubilant crowd is reported to have applauded the rappers' sentiments and begun pointing their fingers at the police officers.

Deputy prosecutor Göran Olsson instigated proceedings against the two hip hop artists in January 2007.

"Through their actions Göransson and Nodbring displayed contempt for the forces of law and order in a way that was intended to generate disorder among the general public," wrote Olsson in his summons application.

Both of the accused denied the charges of incitement and disorderly conduct and said they were exercising their right to freedom of speech.

"It is the first time in my 29 years in the job that I have begun proceedings in a case like this. But I think the case should be tried in court," Olssson told Helsingborgs Dagblad at the time.

The prosecutor did not think that the social criticism found in much hip hop music in any way excused the rappers' behaviour.

"No type of culture has any precedence. I look at the words and the content of the lyrics," said Olsson.

In 1999, one of Sweden's most famous rappers, Ken, encouraged his audience to "go to the palace and rape Princess Madeleine". But the charges brought against him were eventually dropped when he issued an apology.

Per Herrey, a legal expert at the Swedish Musicians Union, struggled to come up with a single case in which opinions expressed in song have led to criminal charges.

"No, I can't remember any case of this kind," he told Helsingborgs Dagblad.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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