A top Moroccan celebrity, Saad Lamjarred, has been charged with rape for the third time in nearly eight years.
The singer, who has broken the record for the most viewed Arab artist on YouTube, was arrested by the French police over the weekend but released on bail, according to BBC.
Lamjarred was first arrested on suspicion of raping and beating up a New York woman in 2010 but released on bail. However, he used the opportunity to flee the United States and has never gone back since. In 2016, he denied the allegation saying the accusation was false which comes as a result of him being “blessed with fame.”
“A lot of big stars have faced similar situations,” he told Emirati newspaper The National.
Six years after the New York incident, Lamjarred was accused of assaulting and raping a woman in a hotel in Paris. He was released on bail once again after spending several months in jail, with an electronic tag in April 2017, awaiting trial.
French newspaper Le Parisien reported a French-Moroccan woman had also been sexually assaulted by Lamjarred in Casablanca, also in 2016. She alleged she reported the incident to the police but later withdrew the charges.
For his latest charge, the singer had to pay bail equivalent to $175,000. He has also been banned from leaving France or from contacting his alleged victim.
The accuser spoke out in November 2017 when she uploaded a video on Facebook and detailed her ordeal.
“My name is Laura Prioul, I'm 21 years old, and it has been one year since I was physically attacked, hit and raped. For the past year I've been hiding from the media, hiding from everyone, that everyone's been talking about me,” she said.
She said she was threatened after she detailed her abuses online and her identity was revealed.
“So many people were talking about me, insulting me, and no-one supported me apart from my family and friends,” said Prioul.
Lamjarred has claimed the woman is lying.
However, all these scandals have hardly made a dent in the performer’s reputation among his fans. When the singer was arrested in 2016, his fans across the Middle East rose up in support of him, despite it being his second rape accusation.
The king of Morocco, Mohammed IV, paid the legal fees of the singer and his fans maintained he was a victim of a conspiracy by Algeria, which has a strained relationship with Lamjarred’s home country. Morocco news channels even aired footage of small street protests in support of the superstar while he sat in jail. His song “Lmallem” has also gained over 660 million views on YouTube.
One year after the alleged incident, Lamjarred released a song in gratitude of Mohammed IV on the king’s birthday. The music video gained 140 million views testifying to the fact his popularity remained despite the unsavory accusations.
It’s possible the sentiments against him remain the same this time around. However, some people have bashed the man on Twitter.
i'm sick and tired of saad lamjarred the fact that some people might be surprised by the news that he was arrested (once again) is simply astounding this is what happens when you let a sex offender not only walk free but be celebrated— ???? (@initialsle) August 27, 2018
“This is what happens when you let a sex offender not only walk free but be celebrated,” another Twitter user Leila wrote.
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