Arafat Abou-Chaker: Discussed with his business partner Bushido
Photo: IMAGO/Olaf Wagner
Arafat Abou-Chaker is hurt, disappointed, angry.
He doesn't want to hear Bushido's explanations.
He constantly interrupts him.
Sometimes he yells at the rapper, sometimes he insults him in an incredibly calm voice.
When a supposed rival enters the room, Abou-Chaker completely freaks out.
The presiding judge turns down the volume in the courtroom.
The roar on the audio recording becomes quieter.
On Monday, the 38th Great Criminal Chamber of the Berlin Regional Court played an audio recording intended to document a meeting between Arafat Abou-Chaker and the rapper Bushido on January 18, 2018.
Bushido had informed Abou-Chaker a few months earlier that he wanted to end his collaboration.
Abou-Chaker is said not to have accepted the separation.
The rapper claims that Abou-Chaker locked him in, threatened, insulted him and attacked him with a plastic bottle and a chair that January evening.
Bushido's allegations brought Abou-Chaker charges including dangerous bodily harm, deprivation of liberty and insult.
According to the public prosecutor, his brothers Nasser and Yasser are said to have been involved in the threat.
For two years, the three and one other brother have had to answer in court.
Bushido is the prosecution's most important witness and co-plaintiff.
In February, the "Stern" announced the existence of an audio recording intended to document the crucial meeting of the men.
The recording would expose Bushido as a liar and exonerate Abou-Chaker, some in the hip-hop scene rejoiced even before they knew the recording.
What can be heard on the audio document sounds like the end of a love story.
Bushido has broken up, Abou-Chaker does not want to accept the separation and cannot bear that Bushido is already meeting other men.
It sounds like one of those last clarifying conversations that the abandoned one secretly hopes will make everything go back to how it used to be, and which then ends in yelling.
But it's not just about the end of a relationship, it's also about the end of a million dollar business.
A toxic mix when the split—as in this case—is not amicable.
The recording lasts almost two hours.
Arafat Abou-Chaker's voice had never before been heard in the trial as loudly and clearly as on that day.
The accused and his brothers exercised their right to remain silent in court.
On the recording you can now hear how Arafat Abou-Chaker says to Bushido that he has heard that the rapper is meeting Ashraf Rammo and Veysel K.
Ashraf Rammo belongs to another clan, while Veysel K. was a close confidant of Abou-Chaker at the time.
He obviously felt betrayed by Bushido's meetings, sometimes with one and sometimes with the other.
He seemed to suspect that the two men were behind Bushido's sudden rebellion.
"You're playing a game that's very, very wrong," Abou-Chaker accuses the rapper in the first few minutes of the recording.
"You are a fitna person." Translated from Arabic, this means: a person who sows discord.
About half an hour later he says to Bushido: "You're the biggest, worst dog I've ever met in my life." Abou-Chaker pronounces the sentence very slowly, emphasizing every single word.
He also says that he wishes he had never met Bushido.
In the dock, Arafat Abou-Chaker listens to the recording with great concentration.
Now and then he talks to his defense attorney.
Bushido sits diagonally opposite without a lawyer.
Sometimes he takes notes.
The rapper and the clan boss consistently avoid looking at each other.
Why Arafat Abou-Chaker secretly recorded the meeting or had one of his brothers record it remains his secret.
It is hard to imagine that he knew nothing about the recording.
Sometimes it sounds as if the recording device – probably a mobile phone – is stuck in a trouser or jacket pocket.
There are several incomprehensible passages, moments when everyone is talking at once, and minutes when nothing can be heard.
Some contexts can only be understood after repeated listening, others not at all.
The recording leaves room for interpretation.
Every now and then someone seems to bang something on a glass table
Nothing is heard on the recording of an attack with a chair and a plastic bottle.
More precisely: Nobody says anything that would suggest such attacks.
Because: what kind of sound does a plastic bottle make when it hits a face?
In between, loud rumbling can be heard.
Every now and then someone seems to bang something on a glass table.
Bushido sounds far less emotional than Abou-Chaker and is audibly trying not to hurt his feelings any further.
He looks for words that don't raise false hopes and yet don't sound too harsh.
Whether Bushido behaves so defensively because he is afraid of Abou-Chaker, as he claimed in the process, cannot be said from the audio recording.
Bushido's body language, Abou-Chaker's facial expressions and gestures, the position of his brothers in the room, the proximity or distance of all four men to each other - all this information is missing from a sound recording.
Only rarely does Bushido get really loud.
For example when he says to Abou-Chaker: "You're at 180, you start screaming, you roar like a tank.
And then you also say things that make me think: Wow, awesome dude.«
"I don't want anyone interfering in my business"
At some point you can hear Arafat Abou-Chaker asking the alleged rival Veysel K. by cell phone to come to them.
After his arrival, he makes a clear announcement: "I don't want anyone interfering in my business." Veysel K. has no idea what's happening to him.
"What do I have to do with this, with this whole story here?" Unlike Bushido, Veysel K. does not endure Abou-Chaker's roar.
He yells back.
"Are you crazy?" Arafat Abou-Chaker can't tell him who he meets and who he doesn't meet.
Abou-Chaker freaks out.
The situation escalates completely.
The recorder moves away from the screaming men.
What is remarkable is what cannot be heard on the recording: no locking of a door, none of the quotes given by Bushido in the process.
For example: »I will fuck your father.
Then I'll fuck your mother.
Then I'll fuck your wife.
Then I'll fuck your kids.
And when I'm done with that, I'll fuck you." Abou-Chaker is said to have said this to Bushido.
The rapper wants the sentences to be understood as the ultimate threat.
The recording does not confirm his allegations against Nasser and Yasser Abou-Chaker either.
Bushido had reported that Yasser Abou-Chaker had threatened him: "You will only get out of here alive if you have told us the truth." None of this can be heard.
Rather, Yasser and Nasser Abou-Chaker repeatedly try to have a calming effect on their brother Arafat.
They are also the ones who urge Bushido and Arafat Abou-Chaker to kiss.
Smacking noises can be heard.
After that, the discussion continues loudly.
Bushido's explanation for the lack of the alleged words: the audio file was manipulated.
He speaks in court of "abnormalities" and places that are "very, very funny".
In his view, it is not a full recording of the January 18, 2018 meeting. The file may be a combination of recordings from two different meetings, he said as a witness in court on Monday.
He gives the exact timestamp of that point in the file where he claims he heard a manipulation.
He apparently also wants to explain why the recording is almost two hours long, but he himself stated that the meeting lasted around four and a half hours.
The court announced that it would have an expert examine the recording.
At around 4 p.m., the presiding judge ends the day of the hearing.