The Moroccan King has announced he will divert royal funds to ensure the legal defense of a pop-star accused of rape in France.
The alleged perpetrator is popular Moroccan singer Saad Lamjarred, whose hit singles have amassed hundreds of millions of views on Youtube and garnered an international following.
Lamjarred was accused of “aggravated rape” and “aggravated voluntary violence,” after a 20-year old French woman reportedly fled his hotel room in Paris. Early reports also suggest the singer was under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time of the encounter.
Despite the accusations, many loyal fans have taken to his defense on social media, as have numerous celebrities that have expressed their public support.
In addition to the most recent allegation, Lamjarred also faces charges of sexual assault in the U.S., where a woman accused him of sexually assaulting and beating her in 2010.
Lajmjarred fled the country after posting bail for his charges, and has not returned since.
Morocco’s King Mohamed VI has gone to great lengths to defend the estranged singer, enlisting the help of prominent French lawyer Eric Dupond Morreti, who is famous for scoring acquittals in high-profile cases.
“This is a favorable response to a request from the family of the singer who sought his Majesty’s intervention, and with respect for the presumption of innocence,” said the Moroccan embassy in France.
Meanwhile in Morocco, mass protests have swept the streets following the gruesome death of a fish-seller in the town of Al-Hoceima. The vendor was crushed to death after jumping in the back of a garbage truck to retrieve a swordfish that had been confiscated and discarded by police.
The man’s death has been seen to encapsulate what many view as an overarching sense poverty and desperation, especially in the country’s rural areas, prompting activists to adopt the phrase “Monopoly and marginalization,” a critique of state hypocrisy and public neglect.