Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Muslims and Christians clean up Bangui, and violence spirals out of control in Algeria's Gardaia

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Dalia Grybauskaite, President of the Republic of Lithuania

Read more

WEB NEWS

Online scammers exploit MH17 crash

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

  • Israel identifies ‘missing’ soldier in Gaza

    Read more

  • Hollande says French warship delivery will ‘depend on Russia’s attitude’

    Read more

  • Colombia's Rodriguez signs ' €80m' contract with Real Madrid

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels release bodies, black boxes from flight MH17

    Read more

  • Widodo poised to become Indonesian president

    Read more

  • An ‘explosion of violence’: French press reacts to Gaza protests

    Read more

  • Notorious ‘VIP’ prison in Paris closed for renovations

    Read more

  • Christians in Iraq's Mosul face execution or exodus

    Read more

  • Scores killed as Libyan militias fight over airport

    Read more

  • Ukraine football players refuse to return home after friendly in France

    Read more

  • China steps up communist education to guard against ‘moral decline’

    Read more

  • French rugby stars attacked with machetes and swords

    Read more

  • Hollande announces new military operation in West Africa

    Read more

France

Suspected polygamist accused of domestic violence

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-04-29

In fresh allegations, the French Muslim man suspected of polygamy and welfare fraud has been accused of beating at least one of his female companions and keeping his children "locked away".

Lies Hebbadj, a French Muslim butcher suspected of polygamy, has been accused of domestic violence and mistreating his children, the French interior minister, Brice Hortefeux, told French lawmakers on Wednesday.

Police sources said Hebbadj’s father-in-law filed a complaint on Monday, saying his daughter was “beaten” by her husband and their children were kept “locked away”. He also reported having “little or almost no contact” with his daughter.

Hebbadj, an Algerian-born 35-year-old butcher in France’s north-western city of Nantes, has been at the centre of a political storm over alleged polygamy and welfare fraud.

According to Hortefeux, Hebbadj lives with four women who have borne him 12 children, and each wife receives “single parent” welfare benefits.

Hortefeux last Saturday called for Hebbadj’s French passport to be removed, saying polygamy is “not welcome in France”.

The controversy began last week, when one of Hebbadj’s companions complained that she had been fined 22 euros for driving while wearing her niqab full-face veil, in Nantes.

Police said her niqab restricted her view so she could not drive safely. The woman refused to pay the fine, sparking an investigation that led to revelations about Hebbadj’s controversial living arrangements.

Polygamy and fraud

Local state prosecutors have asked police to look into "suspicions of polygamous relations" and "questions about social benefits thought to have been paid to several women" linked to Hebbadj, the prosecutor's office said.

Hebbadj's lawyer, Franck Boezec, denied the accusations against his client, saying there was "neither polygamy nor social security fraud" and that the charges made "by a certain number of ministers" were "completely fanciful".

Hebbadj also called a news conference on Monday to contend that, while he has several mistresses, he had not engaged in polygamy, which is illegal in France.

"As far as I know," said Hebbadj. "it is not forbidden to have mistresses in France, nor is it forbidden under Islam. Maybe under the Christian faith, but not in France."

He added that "if you lose your French nationality for having mistresses, then a lot of French men would have to be stripped of their citizenship."

The controversy over Hebbadj and his wife comes as the government prepares legislation to ban the wearing of the full-face veil. A draft law is to be presented to ministers on May 19.

President Nicolas Sarkozy has said the full veil, known as the burqa or the niqab, is not welcome in France, calling it an affront to French values that denigrates women.

Date created : 2010-04-28

  • FRANCE

    Accused polygamist says he has several mistresses but just one wife

    Read more

COMMENT(S)