Court upholds ban on French rapper accused of 'defending terrorism'

AFP - [email protected]
Court upholds ban on French rapper accused of 'defending terrorism'
Freeze Corleone (Image: Youtube screengrab Mangemort Squad)

A French court has upheld a ban on a concert by a French rapper accused of anti-Semitism and "defending terrorism", just hours before he was due on stage.


Freeze Corleone, whose real name is Issa Lorenzo Diakhate, was due to play in the northern city of Lille on Thursday evening and in Lyon on Saturday, but authorities in each city had banned the concerts.

A Lille court rejected a last-minute attempt by the rapper to overturn the Lille ban. No ruling has yet been made about the Lyon concert.

The 31-year-old artist has faced repeated criticism since 2020 when he compared himself to Adolf Hitler in his debut album and many accused him of anti-Semitism.

Last week, he released a new song in which he compares himself to a truck, in what some people have seen as a reference to the 2016 Nice terror attack that killed 86 people.

The lyrics prompted prosecutors in the Mediterranean city to open an investigation over him allegedly "defending terrorism".

Corleone on Thursday morning sent a lawyer to an administrative court in Lille just hours ahead of the cancelled performance.

"They're trying to smear the artist, disparately sampling comments that might shock the bourgeoisie," lawyer Sanjay Mirabeau said.

Another lawyer was due to appear in another court in Lyon.

In Corleone's latest single "Haaland", a duo with German rapper Luciano, lyrics include: "I arrive in rap like a truck that bombs hard on the..."

His lawyer argued in court that the sentence was open-ended and could mean any number of things, and said the offending song was not in the line-up for the Lille concert.


Fans of the rapper who had bought tickets for the concert huddled in the back of the courtroom.

And some fans gathered at the Zenith concert hall in Lille in the evening, vainly hoping the concert would go ahead.

Corleone in 2020 caused a stir after the release of his debut album "LMF".

In his lyrics, he said that he arrived "determined like Adolf in the 1930s", that he doesn't "give a damn about the Shoah", or Holocaust.

The album also contained references to popular conspiracy theories.

Corleone, whose father is Senegalese and mother Italian, was born on the outskirts of Paris but has also lived in Canada and in Dakar.


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