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Kidnapped doctor appeals murder rap

A German doctor who was convicted of killing his step-daughter after being kidnapped and forcibly brought back to France began an appeal Tuesday that will hinge on whether French law can tolerate vigilante action.

Dieter Krombach, 77, was sentenced last year to 15 years in prison over the death of his 14-year-old step-daughter Kalinka at their German home in 1982.

In a case that captivated France, Kalinka's biological father, André Bamberski, took the law into his own hands after Germany refused to hand Krombach over, employing a team of kidnappers to drag him to France before dumping him near a courthouse.

Krombach's lawyers were set to argue that his trial in France is illegal because of the manner in which he was brought to the country.

They also claim the trial cannot be conducted fairly because it lacks access to evidence in Germany.

"He is being asked to defend himself but there is an Iron Curtain between France and Germany that prevents us from having access to evidence," said Krombach's lawyer, Philippe Ohayon.

A Paris court convicted Krombach of "deliberate violence leading to involuntary death" in October 2011.

Bamberski, a 75-year-old who is also facing charges of kidnapping in the case, said before the appeal that he hope the new trial would lead to an even harsher conviction.

"I expect Mr Krombach to be convicted of . . . murder, aggravated murder against Kalinka who was less than 15 years old," he said.

A ruling in the appeal is expected on December 14th.

Kalinka was found dead in her bed at the home she shared with her younger brother, her mother and Krombach and their two children near Lake Constance in southern Germany in July 1982.

An autopsy proved inconclusive as to the cause of death, but forensic examinations of the body called into doubt Krombach's account of her final hours.

A German investigation into her death found there was not enough evidence to charge Krombach but Bamberski, convinced the German had raped and killed his daughter, brought charges against him in France.

A French court in 1995 found him guilty in absentia, but Germany refused to send Krombach to France and the conviction was eventually overturned.

Krombach's credibility was weakened in 1997 when the cardiologist was convicted of drugging and raping a 16-year-old patient, handed a suspended sentence and had his licence suspended.

In October 2009, frustrated by Germany's refusal to send Krombach to France, Bamberski hired a kidnap team who snatched the doctor from his home in Scheidegg, brought him to France and left him, bound and gagged, near the courts in the border town of Mulhouse.

Krombach was promptly arrested.

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CRIME

French police seize 2.4 tonnes of cannabis near Bordeaux

France’s Economy Minister has praised the work of Bordeaux law officers, after they seized more than 2.4 tonnes of cannabis resin with an estimated street value in excess of €19 million.

French police seize 2.4 tonnes of cannabis near Bordeaux

Bruno Le Maire and Minister Delegate in charge of Public Accounts Gabriel Attal in a joint statement: “Once again, Customs distinguished itself with an exceptional seizure of cannabis, recalling its key role in the fight against drug trafficking. We congratulate the customs officers for their daily commitment to the protection of our fellow citizens.”

Two people were taken into custody after officers stopped a lorry from Spain on the A63, near the Saugnac-et-Muret toll area, just south of Bordeaux, on Monday.

According to Le Figaro, the drugs were hidden in side compartments of the lorry, and concealed by its stated load of wheat, and were discovered by a sniffer dog during the stop.

In total, 2,414.8kg of cannabis resin and 9.75kg of cannabis herb were intercepted by the Bordeaux brigade, with an estimated value of more than €19 million on the illicit market.

Since the end of July, 2022, Customs officials have seized nearly 73 tonnes of drugs, including 41.2 tonnes of cannabis.

The French drugs squad is now investigating to determine the point of origin of the drugs, as well as their destination and the crime network behind the smuggling attempt.

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