Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rai star 'forced French abortion'!

Cheb Mami (file image)
Cheb Mami says he is persecuted because he is a successful Arab

Algerian singer Cheb Mami is to stand trial in France over allegations that he forced a former partner to undergo an attempted abortion.

Cheb Mami, whose real name is Mohammed Khalifati, was arrested at Orly airport in Paris on Monday.

The singer, 42, is credited with bringing Algeria's popular Rai music to an international audience.

He faces 10 years in prison if convicted of complicity in violence but has denied the charges.

Prosecutors at Thursday's trial in Bobigny will allege that Cheb Rami was one of a group who abducted and beat the woman, a French photographer, in the Algerian capital, Algiers, in 2005.

The woman was allegedly forced to undergo an abortion, but on returning to France she discovered she was still pregnant and later gave birth to a daughter.

France issued an international arrest warrant for Cheb Mami after he skipped bail in Paris in May 2007 and fled to Algeria.

He denies any involvement in the alleged abortion and says he is being persecuted because he is a successful Arab star.

His former manager, Maurice Levy, is also under investigation along with two former aides.

BBC NEWS REPORT.

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