Fugitive ex-Syrian diplomat arrested in France on rape charge

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND- A former Syrian diplomat convicted in Geneva of raping and torturing a 60-year-old woman has been arrested in France after 15 years on the run, Swiss officials said Wednesday.
A statement from the Geneva prosecutor's office said the fugitive targeted in an international warrant was picked up on Tuesday in Versailles, where he had been living under a false identity with refugee status.

An extradition process to return the 54-year-old to Switzerland has been launched, the statement said.
The man, whose identity was not disclosed, was convicted in Geneva in absentia in 2001 for the 1997 rape which the court said amounted to torture.
He was given a 13-year prison sentence at the time and has been "on the run" ever since, the statement further said.
Following the crime, Switzerland asked the Syrian government to lift the suspect's diplomatic immunity.
Instead, he was quickly recalled to Damascus, which meant he no longer had immunity in Switzerland.

Friday, December 16th 2016

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