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French rapper MHD sentenced to 12 years in prison

French rapper MHD sentenced to 12 years in prison for murder conviction

The musician, Mohamed Sylla, was found guilty of involvement in the gang-related murder.

Published on September 24, 2023

French rapper Mohamed Sylla aka MHD.
Photo: ALAIN JOCARD/AFP via Getty

French rapper MHD has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for a 2018 gang-related murder.

The BBC reports that the 29-year-old musician, whose legal name is Mohamed Sylla, was found guilty of involvement in the killing of 23-year-old Loic K in Paris in 2018. The musician was one of nine men tried for the murder — three were acquitted and five co-defendants were also convicted.

“From the beginning, I have maintained my innocence in this case and I will continue to maintain my innocence,” Sylla told the court prior to sentencing.

On July 5, 2018, a black Mercedes rammed K, who was subsequently beaten up and stabbed by the group in the streets of Paris. While Sylla denied any involvement, including being at the scene of the assault, Prosecutors said surveillance footage and a witness’ cellphone recording identified him as the owner of the black Mercedes. The car was found abandoned in a car park a day after the killing. Other witnesses identified MHD by his hairstyle and sweatshirt.

Five additional defendants were jailed over the killing, which prosecutors describe as a fight between rival gangs. Three men were acquitted.

FRED TANNEAU/AFP via Getty

A former viral sensation, MHD found success after posting music on YouTube, leading to his 2016 debut album, MHD, which sold more than 200,000 copies in 6 months. He is best known for contributions to the afro trap genre, which began with Sylla uploading self-produced music videos set to tracks that blended African music traditions with modern rap.

Sylla was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in January 2019, just months after the release of his second album 19, which earned him critical acclaim. He also starred in the 2019 French drama Mon frère, as a young man sent to a detention facility for the murder of his father.

MHD recorded his third album Mansa after being released under judicial supervision in July 2020.

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