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CRIME

German doc gets jail for stepdaughter death

A French court Thursday upheld a 15-year jail sentence for a German doctor convicted of killing his step-daughter and forcibly brought back to France by the girl's biological father.

German doc gets jail for stepdaughter death
Andre Bamberski (l), father of Kalinka, who died in 1982, and Dieter Krombach, convicted of her killing. Photo: Boris Horvat/family album

Dieter Krombach was appealing the sentence by a Paris court in October 2011 which had convicted him of "deliberate violence leading to involuntary death"of his step-daughter Kalinka at their German home in 1982.

Krombach was impassive after Thursday's ruling but his lawyer, Philippe Ohayon, said he would appeal, adding that his 77-year-old client was "being sent to death row."

In a case that captivated France, Kalinka's biological father, Andre 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.

"I fought for this," Bamberski said after the court verdict.

Kalinka was found dead in her bed at the home she shared with her younger brother, her mother and Krombach and their two children 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.

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POLICE

French police fire on fleeing suspects, killing one

French police opened fire on a vehicle whose driver attempted to flee when they approached, killing a passenger, prosecutors said on Friday.

French police fire on fleeing suspects, killing one

The incident follows a series of fatal shootings by officers that has revived debate over their use of force.

A patrol of four officers spotted the car, which had been reported stolen, in a parking lot in Venissieux, a suburb of the southeastern city of Lyon, just after midnight.

As they were about to check the occupants’ identity, the driver suddenly tried to flee, hitting an officer who was thrown onto the vehicle’s bonnet

He and another officer then fired several shots, prosecutors said, and when the car stopped moving, the patrol found two occupants with serious injuries.

The passenger died at the scene and the driver was hospitalised, and a police source said doctors declared him brain-dead.

The officers who opened fire were being questioned by the police’s internal investigations agency, a routine practice when officers use their weapons in the course of duty.

Police violence has been in the spotlight after several fatal shootings by officers, which critics see as a systemic use of excessive force and heavy-handed tactics by French security forces.

This month, police officers shot and killed a knife-wielding man, later identified as homeless, at the Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris.

In June, police shot a woman dead in a car in northern Paris after the vehicle failed to stop when summoned by officers and then allegedly drove towards them at speed.

In April, prosecutors charged a 24-year-old officer with involuntary manslaughter after he used his assault rifle to shoot at a car that sought to escape a patrol in Paris, killing the driver and injuring a passenger.

And last March, angry residents clashed with police during several tense nights in the suburbs north of Paris to protest a fatal shooting by an officer against a van that had been reported stolen.

Under French law, the only justification for an officer using a weapon is when his or her life is in danger.

Particularly contested are patrols carrying assault rifles, which authorities began issuing after mass killings by jihadists in Paris on November 13th, 2015, and a subsequent wave of deadly Islamist attacks.

The government has vowed to take action to restore confidence in security forces, and the divisive issues of police violence and crime were brought to the fore in France’s presidential election this year.

Police unions say officers often face hostility and attacks, and are faced with the difficult task of trying to maintain order in impoverished high-rise housing estates that in some cases are centres of drug dealing and other criminality.

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