Mos Def Arrested for Fake 'World Passport'

Rapper has 14 days to leave South Africa and is banned for 5 years
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 15, 2016 11:43 AM CST
Mos Def Arrested for Fake 'World Passport'
In this Oct. 28, 2009, file photo, musician Mos Def speaks on a panel discussing Google's new music search in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Matt Sayles,File)

(Newser) – A government spokesman says the American entertainer commonly known as Mos Def was arrested in South Africa for traveling with a fraudulent passport. Department of Home Affairs spokesman Mayihlome Tshwete tells the AP that the 42-year-old rapper and actor was arrested at Cape Town International Airport on Thursday. Mos Def told officials that he was carrying a "world passport," Tshwete says, adding, "There is no such thing." A South African newspaper, the Mail & Guardian, says the New York rapper has lived in Cape Town since May 2013. He entered the country on an American passport in 2013 and overstayed his visitor's permit by 2014, Tshwete notes.

Mos Def, born Dante Smith, has starred in films such as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Italian Job, and Life of Crime. Tshwete tells the AP that the entertainer, who now goes by the name Yasiin Bey, appeared in court on Friday. He now has 14 days to leave South Africa, Tshwete says, noting that a court order to leave the country means the rapper is banned from South Africa for five years, but he may appeal to officials for leniency. Mos Def appeared alongside family members who were also in the country without a permit, Tshwete adds. (Read more Mos Def stories.)

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