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French star remanded in custody until trial

UPDATE: France prop Mohamed Haouas has been remanded in custody ahead of his trial on Tuesday for domestic violence his lawyer told AFP.

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The 29-year-old Montpellier star, who was arrested on Friday, risks a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

“The judge decided to remand him in custody,” said Haouas’s lawyer Marc Gallix who added it was because his client had a previous conviction.

“The main issues on Tuesday is that I manage to get him released from prison.”

Haouas’s wife has not lodged a formal complaint.

According to a source familiar with the case, the alleged incident occurred mid-afternoon on Friday, in front of a shopping centre in Montpellier where Haouas’s wife works.

After an argument broke out between them, Haouas allegedly kicked his wife in the ankle making her fall and struck her in the face. Several people witnessed the scene which was also captured by CCTV cameras.

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Bystanders, who contacted police, claimed Haouas forced his wife to follow him.

The latest case, which follows a previous conviction and a trial earlier this month for another alleged offence committed a decade ago, places in doubt Haouas’s chances of participating in the World Cup in France from September 8 to October 28.

The father of two, who has won 16 international caps, was part of France’s Six Nations squad, although he received a red card for butting on his only appearance, against Scotland, and was banned for the rest of the tournament.

He is currently awaiting the verdict of a trial held in Montpellier this month for his role as “leader” in a brawl 10 years ago.

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Prosecutors requested a two-year suspended sentence after praising the rugby player for escaping his difficult youth. The court’s decision is due on June 30.

It makes for an awkward conundrum for France coach Fabien Galthie who will name his initial 42-man squad for the tournament on June 21.

In February 2022, Haouas received an 18-month suspended sentence for his part in a series of robberies in April 2014 and for receiving a stolen car.

Haouas told his trial in Montpellier this month that “my aim is to never return to court” and that he wanted to “turn the page on” mistakes made during his childhood.

At the time Galthie declined to condemn him publicly: “I want to protect him, help him and encourage him,” he explained.

Haouas has spent his entire playing career at Montpellier but next season is switching to rival Top 14 side Clermont.

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