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POLICE

Thirty officers suspended in Marseille scandal

The number of Marseille police suspected of involvement in corruption rose to 30 Monday following the suspension of an additional 18 officers from a unit that operated in the toughest zones of the southern French city.

Thirty officers suspended in Marseille scandal
Photo: Flickr user YuMaNuMa
The suspension of the 18 follows the indictment of 12 of their colleagues on Friday on charges of extortion and drug dealing.
 
Seven of the initial 12 have been imprisoned pending further investigation while the other five were released on bail.
 
The latest suspensions mean almost half of the 70-strong Anti-Criminial Brigade in northern Marseille are now under investigation in what is beginning to look like one of the most serious cases of police corruption in French history.
 
Most of the officers who have been charged or suspended were arrested last Tuesday. They are suspected of routinely stealing drugs and cash from dealers and of holding on to cigarettes confiscated from illicit sellers.
 
The prosecutor who pushed for action against them told Friday's indictment hearing that there was "overwhelming" proof of their guilt and described the unit they worked for as a "gangrene" in the French police.

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POLICE

Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

A Frenchwoman and a Spaniard were killed and nine other mountaineers were injured on Friday in an ice fall in southwest Switzerland, police said following a rescue attempt involving several helicopters.

Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

Police received calls at 6.20 am reporting that mountaineers had been caught up in falling seracs — columns of glacial ice formed by crevasses — on the Grand Combin, a glacial massif near the Italian border in the Wallis region.

Seven helicopters with mountain rescue experts flew to the scene, finding 17 mountaineers split among several groups.

“Two people died at the scene of the accident,” Wallis police said in a statement. They were a 40-year-old Frenchwoman and a 65-year-old man from Spain.

Nine mountaineers were airlifted to hospitals in nearby Sion and in Lausanne. Two of them are seriously injured, police said.

Other mountaineers were evacuated by helicopter.

The regional public prosecutor has opened an investigation “to determine the circumstances of this event”, the police said.

The serac fall happened at an altitude of 3,400 metres in the Plateau de Dejeuner section along the Voie du Gardien ascent route.

The Grand Combin massif has three summits above 4,000 metres, the highest of which is the Combin de Grafeneire at 4,314 metres.

The police issued a note of caution about setting off on such high-altitude expeditions.

“When the zero-degree-Celsius isotherm is around 4,000 metres above sea level, it is better to be extra careful or not attempt the route if in doubt,” Wallis police said.

“The golden rule is to find out beforehand from the mountain guides about the chosen route and its current feasibility.”

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