Moroccan singer convicted of rape in Paris, gets 6-year term

Feb 23, 2023, 9:36 PM | Updated: Feb 24, 2023, 12:18 pm

FILE - Moroccan singer Saad Lamjarred, second right, leaves the court house Monday, Feb. 20, 2023 i...

FILE - Moroccan singer Saad Lamjarred, second right, leaves the court house Monday, Feb. 20, 2023 in Paris. Saad Lamjarred, 37, has been on trial in Paris since Monday for aggravated rape and assault. A verdict is expected later Friday Feb.24, 2023. (AP Photo/Sylvie Corbet, FILE)

(AP Photo/Sylvie Corbet, FILE)

PARIS (AP) — A court in Paris convicted Moroccan singer Saad Lamjarred of rape and assault charges Friday and sentenced him to six years in prison.

The 37-year-old Lamjarred, who is famous on the Arab pop music scene, had been trial on charges of aggravated rape and assault since Monday.

A six-member jury and three magistrates spent seven hours deliberating before the singer was found guilty of raping a French woman at a luxury hotel on the Champs-Elysees in October 2016 while he was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine.

Lamjarred denied the allegations of rape and assault. He acknowledged on the first day of the trial that he “occasionally” used alcohol and drugs at the time but said he had since stopped.

Lamjarred told the presiding magistrate Friday that he “absolutely did not do what I am accused of,” according to reports in French media.

Jean-Marc Descoubes, the victim’s lawyer, told reporters at the start of the trial that his client was undergoing treatment but remained strong despite the trauma she sustained.

The woman, who was 20 years old at the time, said she met Lamjarred at a Paris nightclub and accompanied him to his hotel, according to a document summarizing the conclusions of the investigation..

She said he hit her several times as she tried to push him back before he raped her, the document said. She managed to leave the room, and hotel staff reported seeing her crying and in distress.

Lamjarred is one of the Arab world’s most popular artists. His music video “Lm3allem” has more than 1 billion views on his YouTube channel, where he has more than 14 million subscribers.

King Mohammed VI awarded him Morocco’s highest national honor in 2015.

Lamjarred has also been charged with the aggravated rape of a woman in August 2018 at a nightclub in Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera. A trial date has not been set.

Feminist activists in North Africa and the Middle East have in recent years led a campaign against Lamjarred as part of the #MeToo movement, leading some of his shows to be canceled in Egypt and elsewhere.

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