Hang White People: Rapper Nick Conrad faces fine for YouTube song

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Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Nick Conrad's lawyer argued in court that he was exercising artistic freedom

Prosecutors are calling for a suspended €5,000 (£4,520) fine for French rapper Nick Conrad, who is on trial for incitement to murder in Paris after he published an online video entitled "Hang White People".

The music video shows the rapper acting out the kidnap, torture and hanging of a white man.

The lyrics, which sparked outrage, call for white babies to be killed.

Mr Conrad denies the charge, and says the song is a comment on racism.

The nine-minute video, first published on YouTube in September, was quickly suspended for violating the company's terms of service.

It depicts a white man being shot and tortured by the rapper and an accomplice. He is forced to bite the pavement and is kicked in the head before being hanged.

One section of the lyrics reads: "I go to the nurseries, I kill the white babies. Catch them quick and hang their parents!"

Anti-racism groups have called the clip an incitement to violence and racial hatred.

Who is Nick Conrad?

The 35-year-old French rapper of Cameroonian descent was virtually unknown to the French public before he released his video four months ago.

Image copyright YouTube/Erikno Manolas
Image caption The controversial music video was removed from YouTube within 10 days

He was raised in the suburbs of Paris, and worked as a receptionist at a five-star hotel on Avenue de l'Opera until he lost his job recently. "Nick Conrad" is a pseudonym.

The charge against Mr Conrad could result in up to five years in prison and €45,000 in fines. Prosecutors have requested a suspended fine of €5,000, saying he has "already to a certain extent paid the consequences".

The rapper told the court on Wednesday that the video was obviously a fictional depiction of racism, designed to shock by inverting roles, and therefore not to be taken at face value.

The scenes are said to be a reference to the film American History X, where white neo-Nazis subjected a black man to similar violent acts.

The BBC's Hugh Schofield reports that the prosecution countered this, saying there cannot be exceptions - incitement to violence does not stop just because the intended victim is white.

The trial continues on 19 March.