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Mexican pop singer Kalimba jailed on rape charge

The Associated Press, Friday, January 21, 2011, 8:44am (PST)

CANCUN, Mexico (AP) -- Mexican pop singer Kalimba was jailed Thursday on charges of raping a teenage girl.

Kalimba arrived in the Caribbean city of Chetumal on a Mexican federal government plane after being deported from El Paso, Texas, for immigration violations.

His lawyer, Eliezer Garcia, told the Televisa network that Kalimba was in Texas on a business trip when he was arrested and was not trying to flee.

Prosecutors allege Kalimba raped a 17-year-old girl on Dec. 19 at a hotel in Chetumal, the capital of Quintana Roo state. A judge issued an arrest warrant against the singer.

Kalimba, 28, has denied the accusations in a case that has received front-page coverage in Mexican newspapers and has been a staple of talk shows.

The singer, whose full name is Kalimba Kadjaly Marichal Ibar, formerly performed with the group OV7. As a child, he performed the singing voice of the young Simba in the Latin American version of the "The Lion King" movie.

Mexican TV footage showed him entering the state prison at 5 a.m. in the morning, wearing a knit cap, jeans and a hooded sweater.

Didier Vazquez, state deputy public safety secretary, said Kalimba — prisoner No. 1,053 — might be held in a separate cell for his safety but would be treated like any other inmate. He will be given a routine psychological exam.

"The important thing is that everyone who enters is a prisoner and will have the same rights and the same obligations as any other person who is imprisoned," Vasquez said.

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