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Abducted German doctor finally faces French murder charges

After his abduction to France, a 75-year-old German doctor has appeared before a Paris court charged with raping and murdering a young French girl nearly 30 years ago.

The scales of justice

Dieter K. faces the French court nearly 30 years after Kalinka's death

The long-awaited trial of a German doctor accused of raping and murdering a 14-year-old French girl nearly 30 years ago kicked off in Paris on Tuesday in a case that has attracted global attention.

Dieter K., 75, had successfully evaded the French courts since the murder of Kalinka Bamberski in July 1982. She had been spending the summer in Germany with her mother and then-stepfather, Dieter K, before being found dead in her bed.

A German autopsy found injury to her genitals and blood on her leg, as well as injection marks on her arms, right leg and chest.

The doctor has denied all charges against him, but has admitted to injecting Kalinka with an iron compound to help her tan more easily. In 1997, K. pleaded guilty in a German court to sedating and sexually abusing a 16-year-old patient and was sentenced to two years in prison.

The German had earlier been tried and sentenced in absentia to 15 years in jail in France for Kalinka's murder after fierce and unrelenting campaigning by Kalinka's biological father, Andre Bamberski. But Germany decided against any extradition on the grounds that K. had already stood trial and been found not guilty in Germany, meaning he remained free across the border.

Twist in the tale

Andre Bamberski

Andre Bamberski campaigned for years to have K. extradited

The French ruling was later thrown out by the European Court of Justice on the basis that K. had not received a fair defense.

However, a twist in the tale came in October 2009 when K. was unexpectedly abducted from his home in Bavaria. He was bound and gagged and dropped outside a courthouse in Mulhouse, eastern France. Andre Bamberski was arrested and charged over the abduction.

73-year-old Bamberski had made a posthumous vow to his daughter to bring her killer to justice. His quest has seen him set up a formal "Justice for Kalinka" campaign utilizing private detectives and a campaign of pressure on K. leading up to his abduction.

"I hope for a fair trial, in memory of Kalinka," Bamberski told the German press agency DPA before the start of the trial. "I think of my daughter every day."

The trial is set to run until April 8.

Author: Darren Mara (AP, AFP)
Editor: Rob Turner

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