Sweden: skeleton lover walks free as bone trial ends
A 37-year-old woman charged with “violating the peace of the dead” for allegedly using human bones as sex toys was released on Friday as the court began deliberations, with the prosecutor arguing she should be sent to prison.
The woman, whose collection of bones has made headlines around the world, was arrested in September when police arrived at her apartment and found human skeletons and knives after responding to a call about gunfire coming from the flat.
She was charged with violating the peace of the dead after confiscated images and witness statements suggested she used the bones for sexual purposes.
On Friday, the 37-year-old walked free following three days of hearings in the Gothenburg District Court, which will now begin deliberations ahead of a verdict expected to be delivered on December 17th.
While no longer being held on remand, the woman remains suspected of the crimes with which she has been charged. (via The Local)
Russia refuses to release anti-Putin punks Pussy Riot rock group
Russia on Wednesday refused to free from pretrial detention two alleged members of opposition punk rock group Pussy Riot who face up to seven years in jail for performing in a church.
A Moscow court rejected an appeal and ruled that two women, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina, must stay in detention until late April ahead of their trial for “hooliganism”, even though they have small children.
Outside the courtroom on Wednesday, police detained several demonstrators as supporters of the women held single-person pickets against the detentions, while opponents sprinkled them with holy water.
The radical all-female group sings raucous anthems against Vladimir Putin’s regime in public places including the metro and Red Square. Its members wear brightly coloured balaclavas to conceal their faces and use nicknames.
On February 21, five members climbed onto the altar in Moscow’s central Church of Christ the Saviour, often visited by Russia’s rulers, and attempted to shout out a song they called a “Punk Prayer” before being seized by guards.
The women all escaped, but police later detained four alleged members – including one man. They charged the two women with hooliganism in an organised group, a criminal charge rarely applied to opposition protests. (via Telegraph)
Patricia Lefranc and her lawyer Daniel Spreutels arrive at Justice Palace to attend the Richard Remes’ trial. Remes, a 57-year-old Belgian, faces charges of attempted murder of Lefranc, his ex-girlfriend, in 2009 by spraying acid on her face and body. (via Telegraph)
Former interior minister Yuri Lutsenko looks out from the defendant’s cage during a court session. Lutsenko, a close ally of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, was sentenced to fours year in jail on Monday for embezzlement and abuse of office. (via Reuters.com)
A 25-year-old law graduate is pursuing train company SNCF for damages after claiming repeated delays on its trains led to her losing her job.
Soazig Parassols will appear in a Paris courtroom on Tuesday to argue her case that she should be receive €45,000 ($59,000) for the job loss.
The young lawyer was employed by a Lyon-based law firm in 2010, reported radio station France Info on Tuesday.
To get to work, she took a train from the town of Ambérie-en-Bugey, to the east of Lyon.
Parassols claims that the 50 kilometre train journey to Lyon was frequently delayed, sometimes by as much as an hour.
At the end of a month, the law firm decided to end her contract despite saying her performance had been excellent. The sole reason for letting her go was her persistent lateness.
The woman’s lawyer, David Métaxas, told the radio station the claim was justified.
"Nearly every day the trains were late. She had to leave early to travel these 50 kilometres. The delays were up to one hour and fifteen minutes. Longer than the journey itself," he said. (via The Local)
A Serbian mother, a father and their 25-year-old son, charged with trafficking after allegedly having “purchased” a 14-year-old girl in Serbia and bringing her to Sweden to serve as the mentally handicapped son’s wife were freed on Monday.
The Gothenburg district court said it could not be proved that the girl was brought to Sweden for those purposes and acquitted the parents, aged 45 and 49.
The prosecutor in the case, Thomas Ahlstrand, had argued that the family believed their son’s condition would improve if he had a wife and a child, so they bought the girl for him from her father in the Serbian capital, paying 1,000 euros ($1,360).
Ahlstrand claimed the girl was then held captive by the family in an apartment from October 2010 until November 2011, when police received an anonymous tip about a girl being held against her will.
He also said she suffered a miscarriage during her ordeal.
However, the prosecutor’s case was based mainly on the girl’s statements to police.
"During the trial in the district court she changed her statements compared to what she had told police. She also changed her statements from one day to the next during the trial," a statement from the court said.
"It is therefore unclear which of her statements are erroneous or exaggerated," it said.
Neither was there any evidence that the first intercourse had taken place before the girl was fifteen, four months after her arrival to Sweden, according to the district court.
When the girl had been taken to the doctor she had been there under an assumed name, which indicated foul play, at the same time as the court concluded that she had not been as controlled by the 45-year-old woman as had been previously believed.
The girl had told police that the 45-year-old woman had beaten her on the upper body on at least three occasions, but as she had no evidence corroborating her story, the charges were dropped. (via The Local)
An Oslo court on Monday sentenced two men to prison for planning to bomb the Danish newspaper that published cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, in Norway’s first ever guilty verdict for “plotting to commit a terrorist act.”
Norwegian national Mikael Davud, a member of China’s Uighur minority considered the mastermind behind the plot against the Jyllands-Posten daily, was sentenced to seven years behind bars.
Shawan Sadek Saeed Bujak, an Iraqi Kurd residing in Norway, meanwhile received a three-and-a-half-year prison term.
According to the prosecution, the two men had in liaison with Al-Qaeda planned to use explosives against the offices of the Danish newspaper and to murder Kurt Westergaard, the cartoonist behind the most controversial of the 12 drawings of the Muslim Prophet published in September 2005.
Westergaard’s drawing, which has earned him numerous death threats and an assassination attempt, showed Muhammad wearing a turban shaped like a bomb with a lit fuse.
The prosecution had demanded prison sentences of 11 and five years respectively.
"There is no doubt that it was Davud who took the initiative in the preparations for a terrorist act and that he was the central character," the three judges said in their ruling.
"The court also believes that it was he himself who would have carried out the terrorist attack since he has explained that he planned to lay out the explosives himself," they added.
The judges also said the prosecution had proven “beyond any doubt that Davud knowingly and voluntarily plotted with Al-Qaeda to carry out a bomb attack against Jyllands-Posten with a bomb that was so powerful that he understood human life could be lost.”
The court did not however find it proven that the men had planned to assassinate Westergaard. (via The Local)
Former Miss Denmark Line Kruuse Nielsen has sued the south-eastern town of Sandefjord after a fall on the ice ended her modelling career and left her with lasting injuries.
The 29-year-old Kruuse Nielsen came a cropper as she made her way to a dance lesson in December 2008, a year after she represented Denmark in the Miss World beauty pageant, local newspaper Sandefjords Blad reports.
The model was in the town for a work assignment when she took a tumble in the town square, hitting her head on the ground as she landed on her back.
“I was in terrible pain and froze as I lay there,” the former model told Sandefjord district court on Tuesday, the first day of a two-day trial.
She spent one night in hospital and the following week in bed before returning to Denmark, where doctors found she had suffered nerve damage, along with injuries to her back, hip, shoulder and neck.
Kruuse Nielsen and her lawyer claim the council should have salted what they describe as one of the busiest pedestrian areas in the town. (via The Local)