Brazilian guilty of false 'race attack' claim

17th December 2009, Comments 0 comments

A Swiss court fines Paula Oliveira CHF 13,000 for making a false complaint.

Zurich -- A Brazilian woman who made headlines in February by claiming to have suffered a racist attack in Zurich was found guilty on Wednesday on charges of making a false complaint.

A district court in Zurich handed down a suspended fine of about CHF 13,000 (USD 12,500, EUR 8,500) on 27-year-old Paula Oliveira, who worked as a corporate lawyer in the city.

It ordered that her passport should be returned, leaving Oliveira free to return to Brazil.

Oliveira's initial claim after she was found with knife cuts in a suburban station on 9 February mobilised Brazil's foreign ministry and sparked uproar in Brazilian media, which claimed she was the victim of racist "torture."

However, a police investigation raised doubts about Oliveira's statements about being attacked by three skinheads and she later reportedly withdrew the allegations.

Gynaecological tests also ruled out her claim that she was three months pregnant and had suffered a miscarriage during the alleged attack.

When the trial opened Tuesday, Oliveira's lawyer, Roger Mueller, pleaded for her acquittal on grounds of diminished responsibility due to the effects of an illness, lupus, at the time.

Oliveira, dressed in black and accompanied by her father, spoke in a hushed voice as she answered questions in court through an interpreter.

Judge Nora Lichti-Aschwanden ruled that the accused was responsible for her acts at the time, although she deserved a lesser penalty than the one requested by the prosecutors.

Lichti-Aschwanden said Oliveira "knew that she was lodging a complaint about an imaginary fact."

However, she took into account the "diminished guilt" of Oliveira and a psychiatric report indicating a moderate degree of diminished responsibility.

AFP / Expatica

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