A Paris court has found 29-year-old French rapper MHD, whose real name is Mohamed Sylla, guilty of participating in the gang-related murder of a young man in 2018.
MHD was then sentenced to a 12-year prison term for the murder of Loic K, who was 23 years old when he was killed.
Reports have it that the victim was struck by MHD’s Mercedes, after which he was assaulted and fatally stabbed by a group of approximately 12 individuals.
MHD, renowned for his unique blend of trap and West African music, known as “Afro trap,” entered a plea of not guilty to the charges.
According to the AFP news agency, he stated in the crowded court in Paris that he has consistently asserted his innocence since the beginning of this case and will continue to do so.
As the verdict was announced on Saturday, several women in the public gallery were overcome with emotion and began to cry. MHD maintained his composure as he hugged one of them.
All of the convicted individuals, who all pleaded not guilty, have a period of 10 days to file an appeal.
In his final statement to the court before it retired to render the verdict, after three weeks of proceedings, he once again proclaimed his innocence.
He confidently addressed the crowded court, stating that he has consistently proclaimed his innocence since the start of this case and will persist in doing so.
“From the beginning, I have maintained my innocence in this case, and I will continue to maintain my innocence,” he told the court.
He refuted being present at the location of the murder, asserting that the evidence against him was founded solely on rumours.
In the summer of 2018, a local resident captured the incident on video from his window. The car involved was promptly identified as belonging to MHD.
According to AFP, additional witnesses were able to identify him based on his distinctive haircut and the pinafore he was wearing.
Five co-defendants of MHD were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 10 to 18 years.
Three more individuals were acquitted.
It is unclear at the moment whether those who were sentenced to jail are planning to appeal.
MHD, a social media sensation with a massive following, started his professional career in music after working as a pizza delivery boy in Paris.