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Prosecutor demands life for Swedish student murder

A French prosecutor on Thursday demanded that the man accused of the murder of a Swedish student in Paris be sentenced to life in prison with a stipulation that he serves a minimum of 22 years behind bars.

Bruno Cholet, 55, denies the 2008 murder of Susanna Zetterberg, 19. The verdict in his trial is due to be delivered on Friday.

In final summing up on Thursday, prosecutor Jean-Paul Content requested the toughest possible sentence for Cholet, who has previous convictions for three rapes and an armed robbery.

"The interest of society is to ensure that he cannot repeat this abominable crime," Content told the court. "The evidence of his guilt is overwhelming."

Cholet denied having murdered the language student after picking her up in his illegal taxi outside a Paris nightclub in the early hours of April 19, 2008.

Her body was recovered later the same day in Chantilly forest north of the capital. She had been shot four times in the head, had her hands tied behind her back with handcuffs and her corpse was so badly burnt police were unable to establish whether she had been sexually assaulted.

Zetterberg's mother, Åsa Palmqvist, told the court that nothing would take away the pain of not knowing what happened to her daughter in the final hours of her life.

"The hardest thing is not knowing what happened to her before she died," Åsa Palmqvist said through an interpreter.

"No judgement can change that," she said. "Sanna is my child. She will not come back. Sanna is our daughter, the sister of Samuel and we love her."

Zetterberg's father, Karl Zetterberg, said: "For reasons that you will understand, I would have preferred not to have come here. But now that I am here, I feel sure that justice will be done.

"The solid work of the police during the investigation and everything that I have seen and heard in court has convinced me that the person responsible for the death of my daughter will have to account for his actions."

Asked by judge Xavière Simeoni if he wanted to say anything to the accused, Karl Zetterberg turned towards the dock but replied: "No, your honour, I don't think so."

The prosecution case rests on evidence that the DNA of both Cholet and the victim were found on a gun recovered from his car.

Cholet claims the police fabricated the evidence in a bid to frame him after he refused to become an informer.

A psychiatrist who testified earlier in the trial described the 55-year-old as having a "psychopathic" personality that was unlikely to be reformed by specialist treatment.

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CRIME

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.

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