Busta Rhymes released from UK detention

Thu Sep 25, 2008 4:44pm EDT
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - U.S. rapper Busta Rhymes was held by British immigration officials at a London airport for almost 12 hours on Thursday before a High Court judge ordered his release.

Officials at London City Airport, citing "unresolved convictions in the USA," detained the rapper after he arrived to perform at a concert in the capital's Royal Albert Hall on Friday.

"A High Court judge ordered his release this evening. He has been allowed entry into the UK having been detained all day at London City Airport," said a spokeswoman for concert organizers RockCorps.

She said his appearance at the event would depend on the outcome of a judicial review due to be held on Friday.

"We're very hopeful he'll be playing the show," she added.

RockCorps is a volunteer project which rewards youngsters with free concert tickets in return for doing four hours of charity work.

Immigration officials tried to put Rhymes on a flight to Amsterdam but his lawyer obtained an injunction and applied for a judicial review of the decision not to grant him admission, said cell phone operator Orange, which is promoting the concert.

This year Rhymes was sentenced to three years' probation for beating a fan who spat on his car in August 2006 and assaulting his driver that December.

"He has the necessary work permit and has been in the country twice already this year, so we're a little puzzled that a question mark is now being placed over his ability to enter the country to perform to volunteers," said Stephen Greene, co-founder of RockCorps.   Continued...

<p>Rapper Busta Rhymes poses on the red carpet before the screening of "Traitor" in New York August 21, 2008. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>