Algerian-born pop star paroled in France

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Algerian-born singer Cheb Mami was paroled Wednesday less than two years into a five-year sentence in France for trying to force an ex-lover to have an abortion, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Known as the "Prince of Rai," the chart-topping pop star left his prison cell in the city of Melun, near Paris, earlier in the day, Khaled Lasbeur told AFP.

"He is doing fine and is overjoyed with this decision, which is a victory," the lawyer said, adding that the 42-year-old artist was planning to resume his career.

Cheb Mami, who real name is Mohamed Khelifati, was jailed in July 2009 after two years on the run.

He returned to France to face trial for the 2005 assault against his ex-girlfriend.

Mami produced several top-selling records in France in the 1990s and reached international stardom in 2001 with the hit "Desert Rose," sung with British pop star Sting.

The victim, a 43-year-old photographer whose name was withheld, was sequestered and drugged in Mami's villa in Algiers in the summer of 2005 after revealing she was pregnant with his child.

Two women and a man then tried to carry out an abortion on her.

Returning to France, the woman learned that her pregnancy had not been terminated. She went on to have the child, a girl.

During the trial, Cheb Mami asked his former companion for forgiveness.

"I regret everything that happened. I ask for her forgiveness," he said, suggesting at the same time that his ex-manager -- also implicated in the case -- do the same.

© 2011 AFP

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