A Tunisian radio station has joined a growing boycott of Moroccan singer Saad Lamjarred’s songs, after the artist was arrested for the third time on charges of sexual assault.
Mosaique FM followed in the footsteps of Moroccan stations HitRadio and Radio 2M in announcing they would no longer air music by the star to protest his recent arrest following an alleged rape of a woman in the southeast of France.
“This decision was made following the verdict of the court of Aix-en-Provence to lock [up] Saad Lamjarred for another case of sexual assault against a young French woman in a hotel in Saint-Tropez,” the station said in a statement.
The 33-year-old artist was arrested and is currently being held in jail after an appeals court refused his bail. Lamjarred was released earlier this year and was awaiting trial on accusations of another rape in France in 2016; in 2010 he was detained on suspicion of raping and beating a woman in New York.
Prosecutors in the south-eastern city of Draguignan, near Saint-Tropez, told AFP news agency that the latest case was “complex” and involved two “radically opposed versions of events”.
According to the French news site Le 360, Lamjarred’s high-profile lawyer Eric Dupond-Moretti quit representing him on the news of his latest misadventure, prompting questions as to whether his career will suffer from the third accusation.
Lamjarred has previously walked away from allegations relatively unscathed, and enjoys the support of Moroccan King Mohammed VI, who also contributed to the artist’s legal costs when he was arrested in 2016.
The boycott has been met positively by many in Morocco amid a series of disturbing rape incidents making headlines across the country. Last month, Moroccan police arrested 12 men in connection with the rape and torture of a 17-year-old girl, who had expletives, crude drawings and even swastikas tattooed across her body by her attackers.
Hundreds took to social media to protest the incident, with 25,000 people signing a petition calling for the king to intervene and provide psychological and medical care for the girl, identified only as Khadija.
Last August, hundreds took to the street in protests after another video emerged showing the aggressive sexual assault of a young woman with learning difficulties by a group of teenagers on a bus.
Earlier this year, Morocco passed a law criminalising abuse against women, including all “acts considered forms of harassment, aggression, sexual exploitation or ill treatment”, but the bill was criticised for failing to mention the problem of marital rape and aspects of the Family Law which sets women as at disadvantage.
According to Morocco’s National Human Rights Council in 2015, more than 20 per cent of Moroccan women have been sexually abused at least once in their lives, with three quarters of women experiencing some form of sexual harassment in public.