29-year-old French rapper MHD has been handed a 12-year jail sentence for murder.
Who is MHD?
The rapper whose real name is Mohamed Sylla, was found guilty by a court in Paris for his involvement in the gang-related killing of Loic K in the capital in 2018.
The French court heard that the victim was knocked down by MHD’s car, a Mercedes, before being beaten and stabbed by a group of up to 12 people.
MHD had entered a ‘not guilty’ plea to the charge. Five of his co-defendants were also convicted, while another three were acquitted.
AFP news agency reports that MHD told the court, ‘From the beginning, I have maintained my innocence in this case and I will continue to maintain my innocence.’
Evidence against him
He said he wasn’t at the scene of the crime, and the case against him was based on rumours.
Part of the evidence against him was footage filmed by a local resident though the window of his home, while MHD was identified by other witnesses.
Other witnesses identified MHD by his haircut or a sweatshirt by Puma, for which he was a brand ambassador, according to investigative reports by Agence France-Presse.
The car was found abandoned and burned out in a car park a day after the killing.
MHD pioneered afro-trap; a mix of hip-hop and African traditions and rose to fame after becoming a viral sensation in 2015.
The 29-year-old was charged with homicide in January 2019 and imprisoned.
He was released after a year-and-a-half in custody while investigations continued, and released a new album.
As the verdict was handed down, several women in the public gallery burst into tears. MHD hugged one of them, maintaining his composure.
The football-mad performer, who was born in France to Guinean and Senegalese parents, is best known for Afro Trap Part 3 (Champions League), a song in praise of the Paris Saint-Germain football club.
He had made waves abroad, drawing admiration from global stars such as Drake and Madonna.