Fans of Moroccan pop star threaten woman who said he raped her

Ms Laura Prioul, 21, accused Moroccan pop star Saad Lamjarred of beating and raping her in a Paris hotel in 2016.
Ms Laura Prioul, 21, accused Moroccan pop star Saad Lamjarred of beating and raping her in a Paris hotel in 2016.PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/SAADLAMJARRED1

MARRAKECH, Morocco (NYTimes) - Many women who have spoken out against sexual aggression by celebrities have received sympathy, and the men have often turned contrite in the face of public scorn.

Not so for Ms Laura Prioul, a 21-year-old Frenchwoman, who said she was beaten and raped last year in a Paris hotel.

The man she accuses - 32-year-old Moroccan pop star Saad Lamjarred - has a music video with a half-billion YouTube views, a prominent family and fame enough that King Mohammed VI helped hire a legal team to defend him, according to the Moroccan state news agency.

Since she pressed charges last year, she had been so threatened by his fans that she has gone into hiding.

Ms Prioul is determined to seek justice. This month, she released an Internet video, describing it as a desperate attempt to air her story.

After she pressed charges, Lamjarred was arrested and spent several months in detention in France before being freed on bail in April.

He is now awaiting a potential trial and cannot leave France.

Ms Prioul, then 20, was visiting Paris with friends when the assault occurred, she said.

She met Lamjarred at a club and he invited her to his table. Later, with a small group, they decided to move the party to his hotel room.

The others never showed up. They danced in the room and she let Lamjarred kiss her. But when she would go no further, she said, he beat and raped her.

She then locked herself in the bathroom. Eventually, she went out to get her phone. They had another fight. He ripped off her clothes and tried to rape her a second time, she added.

In 2010, Lamjarred was accused of rape in New York and left the United States while on bail. A prosecutor dropped those charges last year when the American accuser withdrew her complaint, reportedly after reaching a settlement in a lawsuit.

After Ms Prioul's case became public, a Franco-Moroccan woman came forward in France and accused the singer of rape in Casablanca in 2015, French newspaper Le Parisien reported. She also withdrew her complaint because of "heavy pressure" from relations close to her, added the newspaper.