Prosecutor: ‘Beltran could flee Sweden’

Prosecutor: 'Beltran could flee Sweden'
Swedish prosecutors called on Wednesday for opera star Tito Beltran to be remanded in custody pending a decision by the appeal court on whether to uphold a guilty verdict against the singer for rape.

Prosecutor Anna Håkansson said there was a risk that the singer could flee the country if set free after the trial, which reaches its conclusion on Friday.

Håkansson also noted that the crime of which Beltran was accused carried a minimum two-year sentence.

“And that in principle means compulsory detention,” she said.

Beltran was found guilty of raping an 18-year-old nanny while on tour with the popular Rhapsody in Rock show in 1999. The woman was working as a child minder for actress Maria Lundqvist when the alleged incident took place.

The Swedish-Chilean singer has consistently pleaded his innocence and lodged an appeal directly after the Ystad district court announced a guilty verdict in February this year.

Beltran was furious at the prosecutor’s suggestion that he might leave the country while awaiting the appeal court’s decision.

“Why would I flee Sweden?” the singer wondered, while pointing at an armband he wore on his left wrist.

“My four year old son made this for me at pre-school. I have my family here and they are expecting me. That’s what is most important to to me,” he said.

The trial against Beltran has consisted of two separate proceedings.

The first part of the trial examined whether Beltran should be found guilty of sexually exploiting a six-year-old girl between 2000 and 2002.

Previously the Varberg district court had acquitted Beltran of all the charges in the case.

The second phase of the trial addressed the Rhapsody in Rock tour rape allegations.

In a controversial judgment, the district court in Ystad sentenced the opera star to two years in prison.

The closely followed trial included testimony from some of Sweden’s best known music stars, including Carola Häggkvist, Maria Lundqvist, Anders Berglund and Robert Wells.