DNA links Argentine tour guide to French murders

DNA evidence has linked a 24-year-old Argentinian tour guide to the murder of two French women in a nature reserve in northwestern Argentina, authorities said on Tuesday.

Hikers discovered the bodies of Houria Moumni, 24, and her traveling companion Cassandre Bouvier, 29, on July 29 in the Quebrada de San Lorenzo nature reserve overlooking Salta, the capital of the state of the same name.  

Bouvier was shot in the head and sexually assaulted while Moumni was shot in the back.

Witnesses told investigators they heard gunshots on July 16 near where the bodies of the French students were found.  

“The DNA from semen taken from the body of Houria Moumni is that of Gustavo Lasi,” said Marcelo Baez, a spokesman from the prosecutor’s office in Salta.  

Lasi appeared in court in Salta later Tuesday as a judge sought to determine what role he played in the crime.  

Ballistics evidence has already shown that a rifle belonging to Lasi was one of two guns used in the murders, according to the police.  

Lasi is among eight suspects detained over the killings, none of whom have yet been charged with any crime.  

The others are his father Walter Lasi (42), his girlfriend Maria Fernanda Canizares (24), her brother Federico Canizares (23), another tour guide Dario Ramos (47), gardener Santos Vera (37), construction worker Daniel Vilte (24), and farm worker Raul Sarmiento (45).  

According to investigators quoted in the local press, Vera and Ramos confessed to beating and raping the French tourists after attempting to steal from them but said it was Vilte who shot them. The confession, however, is not legally valid as it was not made before a judge.  

Maria Fernanda Canizares was found to be in possession of a mobile phone and a camera belonging to one of the victims but she said the items had been given to her by Lasi, her boyfriend.  

The two French university students had been on holiday in Argentina at the time of their deaths. The double murder has shocked residents of Salta, an otherwise quiet city of 650,000 that depends heavily on tourism.


How France plans to prevents youngsters accessing online pornography

France is set to announce new measures this week to prevent youngsters from accessing porn websites, in the latest round of a years-long struggle to protect children from explicit material.

How France plans to prevents youngsters accessing online pornography

“I plan to put an end to this scandal,” Digital Affairs Minister Jean-Noel Barrot told the Parisien newspaper on Monday.

France’s data protection and media regulators Cnil and Arcom are set to announce their latest proposals to rein in porn websites which are in theory subject to a 2020 law requiring age verification.

Previous attempts have been held up by privacy and technical concerns, as well as court action by the websites.

To its frustration last September, a Paris court ordered Arcom to enter into mediation with several porn websites including market leader Pornhub, holding up efforts to block them.

READ MORE: France hits Google and Facebook with huge fines over ‘cookies’

Under the new proposal, people wanting to access explicit material will need to download a phone application that provides them with a digital certificate and code, the Parisien reported.

The code will be needed to access a porn website under a system “which will work a bit like the checks from your bank when you buy something online,” Barrot told the newspaper.

“2023 will mark the end of our children accessing pornographic sites,” he added.

President Emmanuel Macron, who is married to former school teacher Brigitte Macron, promised to make protecting children from porn a priority during his bid for re-election last year.

In November, he launched the Children Online Protection Laboratory, an initiative that aims to bring together industry giants and researchers to look for ways to shield minors online.

In September last year, a report entitled “Hell Behind the Scenes” by French senators concluded that there was “massive, ordinary and toxic” viewing of porn by children.

The report found that two thirds of children aged 15 or less had seen pornographic content.

The French production industry has been roiled by a series of sexual assault cases in recent years in which women have come forward to allege rape, mistreatment and manipulation by directors and fellow actors.