The Algerian singer Cheb Mami has been sentenced to five years in a French prison after being found guilty of forcing an attempted abortion on his former lover. The 42-year-old star of Algeria's popular rai music, whose real name is Mohamed Khelifati, was arrested on his arrival in France on Monday night, having fled to Algeria two years ago.
Known globally for "Desert Rose", a duet with pop star Sting in 2000, he was charged with arranging for his then-partner, a French photographer, to be lured to Algiers in August 2005, a few days after she told him she was pregnant. She was then abducted, drugged by a tranquiliser slipped into her orange juice and taken to have an abortion. After the attack, when the victim returned to France, she realised she was still pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl in March 2006. During the trial, Mami said he had done "wrong" but did not express clear regret and did not speak to his former partner.