Slick Rick Supporters Appeal To Washington

The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) is joining supporters of rapper Ricky "Slick Rick" Walters, who has been detained since July by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and is fa

The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) is joining supporters of rapper Ricky "Slick Rick" Walters, who has been detained since July by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and is facing deportation to England, where he was born.

The HSAN issued an alert to fans and supporters of hip-hop music to appeal to President George W. Bush to end Rick's incarceration and stay his deportation. The statement said the Network had been working with Representative John Conyers (D-Mich.) to ask for a court hearing on Walters' case.

"We in the hip-hop community stand in resolute solidarity today with Slick Rick and his family," HSAN chairman Russell Simmons said in the statement. "We want the federal government to bring justice to this case by releasing Slick Rick."

The British-born Walters, 37, has been a legal resident of the U.S. since moving to the country in 1976 with his parents, but never became a full-fledged citizen. In New York in 1990, he shot and wounded two people in what he described as an attempt to protect himself against a violent predator and was convicted of attempted murder in the second degree. He served more than five years in prison, during which he released the Def Jam albums "The Ruler's Back" (1991) and "Behind Bars" (1994).

Following his January 1996 release, the INS sought to deport Walters under a U.S. law that requires the deportation of any non-citizen who serves more than five years in a U.S. prison. Attempting to enforce this law, INS officials arrested the artist earlier this year in Florida on board the Explorer of the Seas cruise ship, where he was to perform with a host of other acts. Pending an immigration hearing, he has been held by the INS in Florida because he has been deemed a "flight risk."

Rick's latest full-length album was 1999's "The Art of Storytelling," which debuted at No. 8 on The Billboard 200.
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