West News Wire: Saad Lamjarred, a Moroccan singer, was found guilty of rape and assault charges on Friday and given a six-year prison term by a Parisian court.
The 37-year-old Lamjarred, a well-known figure in Arab pop music, has been on trial since Monday on allegations of severe rape and assault.
The musician was found guilty of raping a French lady in October 2016 while under the influence of cocaine and alcohol by a six-member jury and three magistrates after seven hours of deliberation.
Lamjarred refuted the rape and assault claims. On the first day of the trial, he admitted that he “sometimes” used narcotics and alcohol at the time, but he insisted that 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.