Rapper Rhymes detained at airport
Rapper Busta Rhymes has been detained at London’s City Airport after being refused entry to the UK because of “unresolved convictions” in the US.
The star arrived on Thursday morning to perform at a charity gig on Friday.
Immigration officials tried to put him on an immediate flight out of the country to Amsterdam but Rhymes’ lawyer secured an injunction preventing this.
The 36-year-old is now being held while officials debate whether to let him enter the UK, the gig’s organiser said.
“We are selective about who we let into the UK and will oppose the entry to the UK of people who have been found guilty of serious criminal offences abroad,” a UK Borders Agency spokeswoman said.
“It’s important that people play by the rules and earn the right to stay.”
Rhymes is due to play at Orange RockCorps, a concert to be attended by a full house of 5,000 music fans at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Each fan has obtained their ticket by spending four hours volunteering in community projects.
US soul star John Legend is also due to appear, as are rock bands Feeder, The Automatic and Guillemots.
Rhymes was allowed into the UK to launch the event on 17 August, which saw him helping to pick up litter in London to promote the event.
He also performed at the Midnight Madness basketball event in the city.
Stephen Greene, the co-founder of RockCorps, said he was “shocked at this sequence of events and this treatment of Busta”.
“He has the necessary work-permit and has been in the country twice already this year, so we’re a little puzzled that a question mark is now being placed over his ability to enter the country to perform to volunteers.”
Rapper Ludacris was flying in from the US “at the eleventh hour” and would replace Rhymes on the bill if necessary, Mr Greene added.
The star arrived at the airport at 0726 BST, RockCorps organisers said in a statement.
“His lawyer, Philip Trott, intervened and presented papers in support of Busta’s case for entry.
“The immigration authorities repeated he was to be denied entry and made arrangements to fly him back to Amsterdam on a flight at 0930.
“Contact was made with the duty High Court judge, Mr Justice Flaux, who granted an injunction at 0858 to prevent Busta being returned to Amsterdam.”
The statement continued: “He is currently detained pending a decision on temporary admission by the immigration officer.
“Documents are being prepared to apply for judicial review as early as possible today.”