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Rhymes detained for unresolved convictions

Published: Friday, September 26, 2008, 16:21 [IST]

[an error occurred while processing this directive]London (ANI): British immigration officials yesterday detained American rapper Busta Rhymes for 11 hours at London City airport, ahead of his scheduled headline appearance at the first UK Orange RockCorps show. Rhymes was detained because of "unresolved convictions" in the US, and tried to have him deported after he arrived in London for the Orange RockCorps volunteering initiative.

However, a High Court judge ordered the musician's immediate release last night, but that was after a fierce legal battle over his right to enter Britain. The 36-year-old singer was stopped shortly after he landed at 7.26am at London. Officials had made prior arrangement to deport him back to Amsterdam, from where he had just arrived, on a 9.30am flight.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]But at 8.58am a duty High Court judge granted an injunction preventing him from boarding. He had to spend the day in a 7ft by 8ft room with his lawyer for interrogation. Earlier this year, he was given three years' probation in New York for assaulting his former driver Edward Hatchett and a fan. He was also ordered to do 10 days' community service and pay a 1,250 dollars fine.

His legal team said yesterday that their client had never been jailed and had completed community service for his convictions. Also, concert organisers said Rhymes had a valid work permit and has been to the UK twice this year, to perform and do promotional charity work in Lambeth, south London.

"I came to the UK to perform for all of the Orange RockCorps volunteers who put in time in their community and that's what I'm going to do...hopefully I will be able to put on an incredible show for the kids tomorrow," The Independent quoted the rapper, as saying in a statement issued last night. The rapper Ludacris, one of Rhymes' friend, was roped in as a replacement and will now play in addition to Rhymes.

"We're shocked at this sequence of events and this treatment of Busta," Stephen Greene, co-founder of RockCorps, said before his release.

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