Moroccan pop star Saad Lamjarred convicted of rape

Singer sentenced to six years in prison over 2016 assault in Paris

Moroccan singer Saad Lamjarred arrives at the Assizes Court of Paris on Monday for the opening of his trial on charges of raping a woman in the French capital in 2016. AFP
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Moroccan singer Saad Lamjarred was convicted on Friday of rape and assault charges by a Paris court and sentenced to six years in prison.

Lamjarred, 37, one of the biggest names on the Arab pop music scene, was on trial on charges of aggravated rape and assault on 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 at the start of his trial that he “occasionally” used alcohol and drugs at the time but said he had since stopped.

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

It was not immediately clear whether he would appeal the verdict.

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 summarising 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 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.

The singer is one of the Arab world's most popular artists with his music video “Lm3allem” gaining more than 1 billion views on his YouTube. He has more than 14 million subscribers on the video platform, and more than 13 million followers on Instagram.

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

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

With reporting from Associated Press

Updated: February 25, 2023, 7:58 AM