Charges in fugitive German doctor vigilante kidnapping

25th October 2009, Comments 0 comments

Andre Bamberski, 74, appeared before an investigating magistrate and acknowledged he ordered the kidnapping of German cardiologist Dieter Krombach.

Mulhouse -- French authorities filed late preliminary charges against a Frenchman for the vigilante kidnapping of the German heart doctor convicted of killing his daughter 27 years ago.

Andre Bamberski, 74, appeared before an investigating magistrate last week and acknowledged he ordered the kidnapping of German cardiologist Dieter Krombach.

"I reached agreement on October 9, 2009 with a man I had met near Munich (Germany) for Dr Krombach to be taken to Mulhouse," a visibly distressed Bamberski told journalists after the hearing.

Cardiologist Dieter Krombach, 74, was found before dawn on Sunday in a doorway in the eastern French city of Mulhouse, just over the German border, bound and gagged and bleeding from a head injury.

A French court in 1995 convicted the doctor in absentia of manslaughter over the death of 14-year-old Kalinka Bamberski, his stepdaughter, who died at his home in Lindau in Germany in 1982 after he gave her a mysterious injection.

Berlin has refused to hand him over to the French courts on the grounds that he had already been tried and acquitted in Germany.

Bamberski had lobbied for two decades for the doctor to be jailed, and suspicion quickly fell on him.

French authorities opened Tuesday an inquiry to establish whether he took part in the kidnapping and injuring of Krombach and at the end of the day a number of preliminary charges were filed against him including for kidnapping, assault, and conspiracy.

Bamberski denied he had ordered Krombach to be beaten.

He was released on bail.

At least one of the suspected kidnappers has been arrested in Germany and has confessed to taking part in the abduction, local prosecutor Jean-Pierre Alacchi said earlier Tuesday, without giving further details.

The prosecutor also said that Krombach, who after a brief stint in hospital was being kept in a prison cell, had been informed of the warrant for his arrest.

His lawyers said they would seek his release, saying their client was the victim of a "kidnapping" in Germany and has suffered serious facial injuries.

Kalinka Bamberski was found dead in July 1982 at the doctor's home on the banks of Lake Constance, where she was spending the summer holidays with her mother.

German investigators questioned Krombach over her death, but the case was dismissed for lack of evidence the following month.

Krombach told German investigators he injected Kalinka with an iron-based solution the night before her death after she complained she was not tanning fast enough. He later changed his statement to say it was a remedy for anaemia.

German prosecutors found that the injection "probably" caused her death, but that it could not be established beyond reasonable doubt.

But France reopened the case three years later after an autopsy on Kalinka's exhumed body, carried out at her father's request, suggested foul play.

Experts at the French trial found that the doctor's injection was "contemporaneous" with her death.

In 1995, Krombach was sentenced to 15 years for manslaughter and an international warrant was issued for his arrest.

But the German doctor won a 2001 case against France before the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled that he had been denied a fair hearing and the right to an appeal in the case.

A German court convicted the cardiologist in 1997 of sexually abusing a 16-year-old patient after injecting her with anaesthetic in his surgery. He was handed a two-year suspended sentence and stripped of his licence.

In 2007 he was convicted of fraud for continuing to practice illegally.

Convinced that Krombach drugged his daughter in order to rape her and that Berlin is protecting him from the French courts, Bamberski set up a pressure group, Justice for Kalinka, to lobby for him to be jailed.


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