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CRIME

Prosecutor downplays cannibalism in German’s Polynesia death

The chief prosecutor in French Polynesia has denied reports that a cannibal ate a German tourist believed to have been murdered while visiting the island chain.

Prosecutor downplays cannibalism in German's Polynesia death
Some friendly Nuku Hiva residents. Photo: DPA

Prosecutor Jose Thorel said police were hunting for Henri Arihano Haiti, a local guide who is suspected of having killed 40-year-old German Stefan Ramin, but had no evidence to suggest Ramin had been eaten.

Media reports in Germany have suggested that Ramin, who went missing on the island of Nuku Hiva on October 9 and whose charred remains were found last week, was killed, dismembered and eaten while he visited the island with his girlfriend on a round-the-world sailing trip.

“The theory of cannibalism is in no way a part of our investigation,” Thorel told news agency AFP.

Ramin reportedly went missing after anchoring his catamaran near the island and heading to the interior with Haiti, a 31-year-old local guide, leaving behind his girlfriend Heike Dorsch, 37.

Haiti reportedly returned to the boat claiming Ramin had been injured and needed assistance. When Dorsch left the boat he allegedly attempted to sexually assault her and tied her to a tree.

Human remains were found in a charred pit on the island last Wednesday and Thorel said teeth found at the scene matched Ramin’s dental records. DNA tests were being conducted to confirm the find, he said.

Thorel said police were carrying out a massive manhunt for Haiti, who had previously served six months in prison on a 2005 burglary conviction.

Reports of cannibalism in Polynesia captured the European imagination when the region was first explored by Westerners, but experts say the practice has not been in use for more than a hundred years.

AFP/mry

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GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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