Argentina charges six in murder of French tourists

17th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Three men were charged Monday with murder and aggravated sexual abuse in the case of two French tourists who were found shot to death in a nature preserve nearly three months ago.

Three other people were charged with covering up the double murder, which shocked France and residents of the Argentine city of Salta, where the crimes occurred.

Judge Martin Perez handed down the murder and sexual abuse charges against Gustavo Lasi, Daniel Vilte and Santos Vera as "co-authors" of the crime, an official statement said.

The bodies of vacationing students Cassandre Bouvier, 29, and Houria Moumni, 24, were found July 29 at the Quebrada de San Lorenzo nature preserve overlooking Salta, some 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) north of Buenos Aires.

Investigators said there was evidence the women had been beaten and sexually assaulted before they were shot to death.

The three suspects in the killing will be held in jail until trial, which has not been set, officials said. The decision by the investigating judge concludes there is enough evidence to proceed to trial.

Authorities also charged a woman and two men with covering up the crime: Maria Fernanda Canizares, Omar Dario Ramos and Antonio Eduardo Sandoval.

"The motive (of the crime) was sexual assault," Perez told reporters. "Theft took place afterward."

Officials said a psychological evaluation of the three main suspects found they had "psychopathic" tendencies and one was addicted to drugs.

Perez will travel to Paris this week to meet with families of the victims to inform them of the charges, according to officials.

© 2011 AFP

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