Source AP ©

French rocker Bertrand Cantat to be freed

French rock star Bertrand Cantat accused of beating his actress girlfriend to death, will be released from prison this week, a prosecutor said Monday.

Cantat, 43, was the lead singer of one of France's most popular bands, Noir Desir (Black Desire). A Lithuanian court convicted him in 2004 of beating 41-year-old French actress Marie Trintignant to death in a Vilnius hotel room.

Cantat, serving an eight-year sentence in a prison near the southwest French city of Toulouse, is to be released ahead of schedule Tuesday based in part on his good behavior, the city's prosecutor said.

Under the conditions of his release, the singer must report regularly to see a judge, must undergo therapy and cannot speak publicly about or publish any songs or audiovisual works touching on his crime. The measures will be in force until July 2010.

The victim's mother, Nadine Trintignant, had opposed Cantat's release.

"I fear that his very early release seems sadly significant for all those who are fighting so that violence against women can at last be justly punished," she wrote in a letter to a magistrate.

Cantat's lawyer, Olivier Metzner, said his client had been a model prisoner, and added that he would not soon perform again in public.

The love affair between Cantat and Trintignant was once the focus of public fascination in France, where fans were shaken by the killing. Trintignant, who appeared in dozens of French-language and several English-language films, was in Lithuania making a film when the two had the fatal dispute in their hotel in July 2003.

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