Banned from the country for five years for trying to use a ‘world passport’ after his visa expired
- Mos Def was arrested at Cape Town International Airport in South Africa
- Rapper handed over a ‘world passport’ instead of a real one, officials said
- His visa had expired and he must now leave the country within 14 days
- Hip hop star and his family were banned from South Africa for five years
- ‘We are all fans guys… but the law is the law,’ government spokesman said
Hip hop star Mos Def has been arrested in South Africa for using an unrecognized ‘world passport’.
The rapper and actor, who now goes by the name Yasiin Bey, was detained at Cape Town International Airport for violating immigration laws, a government spokesman said.
When asked to present his travel documents when trying to leave South Africa, Mos Def handed over a world passport instead of a genuine one, officials said.
Hip hop star Mos Def (pictured performing in Montreal) has been arrested in South Africa for using an unrecognized ‘world passport’
The rapper and actor (at the wedding of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, left) was detained at Cape Town International Airport for violating immigration laws. Pictured right, a world passport
The Sex, Love & Money singer, who was born Dante Smith, now has 14 days to leave the country.
South African Department of Home Affairs spokesman Mayihlome Tshwete said Mos Def, 42, entered the country in 2013 on an American visa, but overstayed his visitors’ permit, which expired in 2014.
He had tried to leave using a world passport – a document that is not accepted in most countries but whose owners claim gives them the right to enter or leave any country as stipulated by the United Nations.
A court ordered Mos Def to leave South Africa and banned him from the country for five years, however he can appeal.
His wife, mother and four children must also leave within two weeks as their visas had also expired.
The recording artist is currently being held by police but is likely to apply for bail on Friday afternoon, the Cape Town City press reported.
South African Department of Home Affairs spokesman Mayihlome Tshwete said Mos Def, 42, entered the country in 2013 on an American visa, but overstayed his visa which expired in 2014
Explaining the court’s decision, Mr Tshwete wrote on Twitter: ‘We are all fans guys… but the law is the law.’
He continued: ‘With regards to Mr Smith (Mos Def), SAPS (South African Police Service) has charged him with usage of fraudulent travel documents. The matter is currently before the courts.
‘Mr Smith has been living in SA with his family without the necessary permits, he was detained upon departure for using illegal travel docs.
‘Mr Smith came into SA with a legitimate US passport but since overstayed his visitors permit. Mr Smith was departing SA using a “World Passport”, SA does not recognise a “World Passport”.
‘The Department Of Home Affairs has given Mr Smith and his family 14 days to leave the republic.’
Mos Def, whose tracks also include Mathematics and Ms. Fat Booty, has reportedly lived in Cape Town since May 2013.
Aside from his music, he also starred in films such as The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, the 2003 remake of The Italian Job and Life of Crime. He also appeared in television shows Dexter and House.
He was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Emmy in 2004 for his performance as surgeon Vivien Thomas in Something the Lord Made.
WHAT IS A WORLD PASSPORT AND DO ANY COUNTRIES ACCEPT THEM?
The World Passport was first issued by peace activist Garry Davis in 1954 citing the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that anyone is free to enter or leave a country.
The 42-page document, which contains text written in English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Russian and Esperanto, looks similar to a normal passport but is not accepted in most countries.
A three-year world passport costs $55, while a five-year one costs $75 and 10-years is $100.
They are rejected by most countries but have people have occasionally been allowed through customs with them. The World Service Authority (WSA), which issues the documents, claims that some African nations, such as Togo and Mauritania, accept the world passport.
Mr Davis was jailed more than 20 times for trying to travel across borders with just his world passport.
The world passport is issued to refugees and stateless people for free and the WSA claims to have provided more than 10,000 passports to people in need.
The documents are seen by some as a political statement about borders and restrictions placed on travel.
Edward Snowden and Julian Assange were both issued world passports by the WSA, although it is not clear whether they asked for them.
The world passport looks similar to a normal passport but is not accepted in most countries
Source: Daily Mail