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Saad Lamjarred trial: Moroccan singer sentenced to six years in prison

French court finds star guilty of raping and beating young woman in Paris in October 2016
Moroccan singer Saad Lamjarred arrives for the opening of his rape trial at the Assize Court of Paris, 21 February 2023 (AFP)

The Paris Assize Court on Friday sentenced Moroccan star singer Saad Lamjarred to six years in prison, convicting him of raping and beating a young woman in a hotel room in the French capital in October 2016.

After seven hours of deliberation, the court said it was "convinced" of the rape, which it said was "described in a constant and precise manner" by victim Laura P since she had filed her complaint.

As a warrant of committal has been issued Lamjarred will be detained immediately.

When the judgement was announced in a court packed with fans and curious observers, a pale Lamjarred stood up but showed no reaction. Laura P hugged her mother for a long time, crying.

Laura P's lawyers hailed a "remarkable decision which corresponds to reality". One of Saad Lamjarred 's lawyers, Thierry Herzog, said they would "reflect" before "deciding what to do next" - to appeal or not.

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Moroccan singer Saad Lamjarred, second right, leaves court in Paris on 20 February 2023 (AP)
Moroccan singer Saad Lamjarred, second right, leaves court in Paris on 20 February 2023 (AP)

Lamjarred was initially arrested in France in 2016 in connection with the case, but was released seven months later and placed under electronic surveillance. Morocco's King Mohammed VI previously helped pay for the singer's legal fees.

The singer is also due to be tried for rape in another court in southern France over allegations he raped a woman in Saint-Tropez. He has also been accused of rape in New York and Casablanca. Lamjarred has denied all the accusations.

'Nightmare evening'

On Wednesday, Laura P, a 27-year-old French woman, testified against Lamjarred before the Paris Assize Court, recounting "a nightmare evening" in 2016 when, she alleges, he raped her in the French capital.

In her testimony, published by AFP, Laura P told the court she was 20 years old when she met the now 37-year-old pop star in October 2016 in an upscale nightclub in Paris.

Around 6am, she and Lamjarred went alone to the singer's room at the Marriott, Laura P told the court.

"We danced, listened to music, talked about everything and nothing," she said. 

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"We kissed, and then suddenly, he pushed my head, which hit the ground." The singer allegedly ordered her to remove her T-shirt, and she complied because she was "terrified", she recounted in tears.

Laura P added that Lamjarred then beat and raped her, with two "vaginal and anal" penetrations, before she managed to push him away and escape the room to ask for help.

Sitting a metre behind her in the courtroom, Lamjarred looked down, while his wife watched from a nearby bench.

In his statements to the court, Lamjarred denied the accusations.

"I have never, ever, ever penetrated Laura, neither with my fingers nor with my penis," he said. "If something affected her or scared her, that was not my intention at all."

His lawyer said Laura P had not presented any evidence to support the accusations, but Laura P said she had his DNA and her wounds as evidence, which she had presented at the police station on the night of the incident.

Lamjarred has faced numerous social media campaigns demanding the cancellation of his concerts and the boycotting of his music due to the rape allegations. In 2020, a concert in Cairo was cancelled following a backlash online.

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