Muslim man at centre of French firestorm over polygamy charged with aggravated rape

News Agencies – August 7, 2010

A Muslim Frenchman cited by officials as a reason behind a crackdown on polygamy has been charged with aggravated rape. Lies Hebbadj, who lives in the Nantes region, was charged with aggravated rape based on a complaint from a former companion. The Algerian-born Hebbadj made headlines for purportedly being a polygamist, but because his reported four companions and up to 15 children live under separate roofs investigators could not prove polygamy as defined by law. He was charged in June with fraud for allegedly collecting too much state aid for the women and children.
The case became public last April when his veiled wife was issued a traffic citation for driving with apparel that hinders vision.
French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux referred to Hebbadj before announcing plans to include polygamy and female genital mutilation on a list of practices that could lead to revocation of French citizenship from immigrants. Hortefeux said he would formally submit the plan, which has drawn controversy, by the end of the month.

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