Yasiin Bey Arrested in South African Airport for Using Wrong Passport
Yasiin Bey, the rapper and actor formerly known as Mos Def, was arrested in a South African airport on Thursday (Jan. 14) for producing an unrecognized "world passport" while attempting to leave the country, the Associated Press reports. Bey has 14 days to leave the country, which he entered in 2013 with an American passport. According to a Department of Home Affairs spokesman, Bey overstayed his visitor's permit and was arrested for violating local immigration laws.
Bey, 42, has been living in Cape Town since May of 2013 according to the Mail and Guardian, a South African newspaper. He appeared in court on the 14th alongside family members who were also in the country without a valid permit. A court order to leave the country comes with a five year ban as well, though Bey can appeal to officials for leniency.
The news comes just a few months after Bey's planned Black Star tour with Talib Kweli which covered four dates in Australia and New Zealand. If he was able to leave and enter another country then, then the passport's supposed fraudulence can be marked up to a misunderstanding. Musically speaking, Bey has appeared on two tracks in recent months, "Never Die" with Golden Rule and Freddie Gibbs and "Sensei on the Block" with producer Ski Beatz. We will continue to monitor Bey's situation and will update this story as news continues to develop.
Bey's representative told Okayafrica that the South African government's allegations are false. The rep continues on to explain that Mos used World Passport issued by the World Service, which the South African government allegedly accepted as recently as August, when they were on their way to perform at the Selam Music Festival in Ethiopia.
When asked if Bey is in South Africa legally, the rep replied "It’s my understanding that he is." He also stated that Bey does not use his U.S. passport for "social and political" reasons.
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