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France

French rappers freed after brawl shuts Paris airport

media Rap rivals Booba and Kaaris Dominique FAGET / AFP

Two of France's biggest rap stars were released on bail Thursday after a brawl between their entourages forced a partial shutdown of a Paris airport.

The rumble between rivals Booba and Kaaris in the departures hall of Orly airport three weeks ago was filmed by holidaymakers on their phones, as the two groups fought in a duty-free shop.

A judge later ordered that the rappers be locked up until 6 September because of the "persistent animosity between the two groups".

But an appeal court in Paris on Thursday overruled the decision, freeing the rappers and eight members of their respective posses on bail.

It was set at 30,000 euros for the two artists, who were also ordered to stay away from each other and to hand over their passports.

A ninth follower had earlier been freed by a local court near the airport.

The two rappers, who were on their way to a concert in Barcelona, have waged a feud over social media where some users mocked the duo and called on them to settle differences with their fists.

Airport bosses said the brawl had "endangered the lives of others", and lodged a public order complaint against the singers after the ruckus forced officials to temporarily shut down the departures hall.

The rappers have been held in separate prisons near Paris since the fight on 3 August.

Booba, aka Elie Yaffa, reportedly fell out with Kaaris, 38, after failing to support him in a dispute with fellow French artist Rohff.

Rohff was sentenced in November to five years in jail for aggravated assault in a fashion boutique owned by 41-year-old Booba.

Kaaris' lawyers Arash Derambarsh and Yacine Yakouti told a court earlier this month that the singer was "taken aside by Booba, who insulted his child and his wife", before several people "jumped on him".

They claimed perfume and glass bottles were used as weapons in the battle.

Booba's lawyer Yann Le Bras later told BFM TV that video footage showed it was Kaaris -- whose real name is Okou Armand Gnakouri -- and his group whose behaviour had been "very aggressive".

After his client was released on bail, Le Bras told reporters that "this was a decision that should have been taken on 3 August. No one was hurt in the fight other than the protagonists," he added.

Kaaris' lawyer Yakouti also hailed the decision, saying that "the important thing today is that Kaaris and his friends can rejoin their families and prepare themselves calmly for the trial."

(with AFP)

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