CRETEIL, France, Feb 7 (AFP) – The French murderer of a Japanese UNESCO employee in Paris in 1995 on Saturday had his jail term increased on appeal to ten years.
A lower court had sentenced Jean Tognetti, 32, to seven years in January 2003 but the appeal court in the Paris suburb of Creteil increased it to ten years for the murder of Akemi Fujiu, 25, in October 1995.
However his co-accused Rony Clamy, 28, was acquitted and his ten-year jail sentence quashed.
Fujiu’s parents and three sisters were in court to hear the rulings and the opinion of the prosecutor that the motive behind the “odious murder” was to steal audiovisual equipment from her Paris studio flat.
The victim worked for the UN Education and Culture organisation UNESCO. She was found asphyxiated, her face swollen and with a knife in her chest. The door to the apartment had not been forced but several items were missing.
The unemployed Tognetti lived with an aunt who was caretaker of the Paris apartment block where the murder took place. He used her keys to steal from apartments, accompanied by Clamy.
State Prosecutor Edmond Stenger said the full facts of the case may never be known and that only Tognetti’s role in the murder was sure.
Tognetti, presented as feeble, easily influenced but responsible, attempted to commit suicide during the earlier trial.
Fujiu, a native of Hamamatsu city in central Japan, was the third of four sisters and had graduated from the prestigious Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, according to a report in a Japanese paper.
She was an excellent English speaker and after joining Japan’s education ministry she worked at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters.
Her parents Yoshinori, 67, and Kimie, 66, civil servants from Shizuoka, had hoped for tougher sentences, telling the Shizuoka Shimbun paper before leaving for France: “By Japanese standards, the sentence was light. But I believe the judge and jury understood our feelings. I want to believe in the conscience of the French people.”
“This was an absurd incident. As the years go by, the pain does not ease at all.”
Subject: France news