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Australian woman charged in France over 2016 disappearance of Frenchman

French police have charged an Australian woman over the 2016 disappearance of a Frenchman she allegedly shared a hotel room with in Andorra, an informed source said Monday. The woman had been arrested at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport last month.

Australian woman charged in France over 2016 disappearance of Frenchman
Andorra. AFP

The woman has been charged with the “kidnapping, arbitrary detention and abduction” of the man, named as 31-year-old Florent G, her defence counsel Simon Despierre told AFP.

Relatives of the missing man from the western city of Nantes had requested the case be kept out of the public eye after the woman was arrested on November 28 at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport, the source said.

Despierre said the 59-year-old was formally placed in detention two days later after questioning.

The circumstances of the case remain unclear.

Florent G was last seen at a hotel in Andorra and his family reported him missing after he did not return to France from the small landlocked country in the Pyrenees mountains, the source said.

He was said to be a proponent of “woofing”, a practice that allows tourists to work on a farm in exchange for room and board.

There is no indication of how he came into contact with the Australian woman, reportedly a doctoral student in architecture who stayed with him in the hotel, according to the Nantes daily Presse Ocean.

“Later, she would say she saw the door of their room open and traces of blood inside and that she did not know what could have happened to her companion,” Presse Ocean reported.

“She told the examining magistrate she did not harm Florent G,” Presse Ocean added.

The Nantes public prosecutor declined to comment on the ongoing case.

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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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