Paris, France – A French court has sentenced Congolese artist Papa
Wemba to 30 months in prison and a fine of 10,000 euros. The
Correctional Court of Bobigny, in the outskirts of Paris, found Papa
Wemba guilty of participating in an illegal immigration network.
Papa Wemba was accused of introducing hundreds of undocumented
immigrants in France, from 2000 through 2002, disguising them as
musicians or dancers of his band. He charged the immigrants 3,000 to
5,000 euros per person.
The smuggling ring was discovered in 2000 when several Congolese
nationals arrived to Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport, claiming to be
musicians working for Papa Wemba’s band. None of them carried musical
instruments nor luggage.
Papa Wemba will not return to prison since he already served his time in preventive custody.
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.