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Wemba guilty of people smuggling

Paris: The African singer, Papa Wemba (in the picture), known as the king of rumba, was found guilty on Tuesday of involvement in a people-smuggling network which brought hundreds of Congolese into France, disguised as band members. A court in Paris sentenced him to 30 months in prison and fined him euros 10,000 for helping Congolese immigrants illegally obtain visas by passing them off as members of his group. Most of the sentence was suspended and Mr. Wemba, who has already spent three months in a French jail in early 2003, will not have to serve any additional prison time. Mr. Wemba (55) had admitted playing a small role in the scam. His punishment was much lighter than the five-year prison sentence the prosecution had asked for, and was greeted with cries of delight from his many supporters who were at the court.

— © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

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