French media report arrest following the death of a 23-year-old man in July 2018, which involved a dozen individuals

MHD, one of the most successful rappers in France, has been arrested and charged with voluntary manslaughter alongside three other men in connection with a death in Paris.

A 23-year-old named as Loïc K was killed in July 2018 in the north-east of the city, in an act described as “purely gratuitous” by French police – he was kicked, beaten and stabbed during the attack from a dozen individuals in what has been reported as a fight between gangs from the 10th and 19th arrondissements. MHD (AKA 24-year-old Mohamed Sylla) hails from the 19th arrondissement, and named an album 19. His car was allegedly witnessed at the scene.

MHD was arrested on Tuesday and charged yesterday, Le Monde reports. The rapper’s lawyer, Elise Arfi, said that MHD “denies any involvement in this brawl” and added that “his presence at the scene of the crime has not been proven”. Arfi said she would appeal MHD being placed in custody, citing his “lack of a judicial record”.

Arfi said that MHD had “never been involved in fights between rival gangs”. She added that the car belonging to MHD had been “used by the individuals identified by investigators as those who committed this deadly aggression”, and stated that MHD had made contact with officials in July “as soon as he became aware” of its use in the attack.

MHD, was born in the Vendée region of France and worked as a pizza delivery boy in Paris before breaking into the rap scene as the self-proclaimed creator of afro-trap.

His albums, MHD (2016) and 19 (2018), have reached the Top 3 in France. He has 2.4m followers on Instagram, is an ambassador for clothing brand Puma and is hugely popular in west Africa where he has played concerts to tens of thousands of people. Bella, a collaboration with Nigerian pop star Wizkid, has had 92m views on YouTube.

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