• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Zahia Dehar: Calls for case to be dropped

AFP/The Local · 22 Jan 2014, 17:58

Published: 22 Jan 2014 17:58 GMT+01:00

A prosecutor in Paris on Wednesday called for the case against French football stars Franck Ribéry and Karim Benzema, accused of having sex with an underage prostitute, to be dropped "pure and simple".

Jean-Julien Xavier-Rolai explained to the court in the French capital that it was impossible for the prosecution to prove that the two footballers knew that Zahia Dehar was under the age of 18 when they allegedly paid for sex with her.

Although the age of consent is 15 in France, paying for sex with anyone under 18 is a crime but Dehar, who later gained fame as a lingerie model and designer, had lied about her age.

However, the prosecutor called for five others accused of aggravated pimping in the case to be handed sentences ranging from one year suspended to three years in prison, half of which would be suspended.

News of the investigation into Bayern Munich winger Ribery, now 30, and Real Madrid striker Benzema, 26, broke just before France's disastrous 2010 World Cup campaign.

Ribéry has admitted having sex with Dehar after she was flown to Munich in 2009 as a "present" for his 26th birthday, but insists he could not have known she was not 18 at the time.

Benzema, who is accused of paying for sex with Dehar in a Paris hotel when she was 16, denies that any encounter took place.

The prosecutor himself admitted that "the very reality" of Benzema's encounter is "doubtful".

Story continues below…

While the public prosecutor called for the case against Ribéry and Benzema to be dropped, along with that against Ribéry's brother-in-law, the judge ordered it to go ahead due to the fact that Zahia was under 18 at the time in question.

The charges against the duo carry possible prison sentences of three years plus a fine of €45,000 ($61,000). Neither Dehar, who rose to fame under the tutelage of fashion impresario Karl Lagerfeld after the charges emerged, Benzema or Ribéry were in attendance at the hearing, which opened on Monday.   

Speeches from the defence lawyers of each player were expected later on Wednesday, with a decision by the judge expected to be adjourned.

AFP/The Local (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
PSG's Serge Aurier sentenced to jail for attack on policeman
Photo: AFP

PSG player had attacked a police officer outside a night club on the Champs Elysées.

Paris city chiefs ready to let nudists hang out in park
Photo: AFP

A nudist park in Paris? "We're going to do it," says City Hall.

Hollande calls on UK to help solve Calais migrant crisis
Photo: AFP

The French president knows that immigration is a key issue of the presidential election battle.

Air France plane dumps fuel 'over Fontainebleau forest'
Photo: AFP

The mayor of the famous town near Paris is furious.

IN PICS: Walkers and cyclists take over Paris streets
Photo: Paris City Hall

Did you make the most of the car-free day in Paris on Sunday?

'War crimes committed in Aleppo': French UN envoy
A tractor clears rubble after a government strike on rebel areas of Aleppo. Photo: Thaer Mohammed/ AFP

France's envoy to the United Nations has called for an urgent Security Council meet on the war crimes he asserts are being committed in Aleppo.

'Curse of Phantom' strikes as Paris theatre burns
Anthony Crivello and Elizabeth Loyacano in the New York production of Phantom of the Opera. Photo: Really Useful Group

The curse of Phantom of the Opera has struck with a fire at a Paris theatre threatening the musical's French debut.

Two teenage girls held in France over 'terror plot'
The girls came from the same part of Nice, near Route de Turin, as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who carried out the nice attacks. Photo: Jesmar/Wikimedia Commons

Two teenage girls from Nice are being held on suspicion of planning a jihadi attack.

Focus
French fighter jet deal: India 'a school of patience'
Rafale jets at an assembly hanger in Merignac, southwestern France. Photo: Jean-Pierre Muller/AFP

The less-than-supersonic sale of French Rafale fighter jets to India has highlighted the obstacles facing foreign arms firms seeking to do business with the world's biggest weapons importer.

Hollande vows to 'completely dismantle' Calais Jungle
French President Francois Hollande visiting a refugee centre in Tours. Photo: Guillaume Souvant/AFP

President Francois Hollande has bowed to right-wing pressure and stepped up pledge to combat illegal migration.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Features
Room for improvement: Paris's matchbox apartments
'Stop telling immigrants to be French and help it happen'
Society
Take the test: How far have you assimilated into French culture?
Lifestyle
Eleven things you should know before moving to Paris
National
France's Marion Cotillard rebuffs rumours of fling with Brad Pitt
National
Eight arrested over links to Nice truck attacker
Features
Why everyone should party in a French chateau at least once
Travel
The Frenchman who hated 'Nazi-Zealand' after four-day hitch-hike fail
Culture
What's on: Ten exciting events across France in September
The 45-million year old underground shells that flavour Champagne
Features
French job speak: All the terms you need to know
'Resilient' Paris now a more appealing city than New York
National
France says it's OK to warn drivers about speed cameras
Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France
Education
Grenoble named France's best city to be a student
Society
New Metro map reveals cheapest pints of beer in Paris
Business & Money
How reliant is the French economy on Paris?
Society
Here's why Parisians want to move to Bordeaux
And the 'best place to spend a weekend in Europe' is… Lyon
Analysis & Opinion
'Muslims in France must be considered ordinary citizens'
Armed guards to ride French trains from October
National
France among Europe's priciest for train travel
National
Paris set to make river bank car-free for six-month trial
2,727
jobs available