French court to rule in Koffi Olomide assault case

A French court will on Monday announce a verdict in the trial in absentia of Congolese music star Koffi Olomide, accused of sexual assaulting four of his dancers.

Prosecutors at the trial, in Nanterre, near Paris, last month called for a seven-year sentence against him and suspended sentences for two of his former employees who detained the dancers.

The dancers say they were detained by three men while Olomide was touring or recording in France between 2002 and 2006, and had their passports and phones confiscated.

They say they were forced to have sex with Olomide, who allegedly struck them if they tried to resist.

The four dancers managed to make a night-time escape from the villa in June 2006, and have not returned to the Democratic Republic of Congo since for fear of reprisals.

Olomide denies the assault charges as well as allegations he helped the dancers enter France illegally and withheld their pay. He left France in 2009 and did not attend the trial.

Olomide, 62, whose real name is Antoine Agbepa Mumba, was a pioneer of the soukous genre that grew out of Congolese rumba.

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