Started by tiny_tove, February 23, 2010, 03:24:01 PM

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somebody broke into my car today and stole the stereos. true story.




Girls just want to have fun

And in another shock move he signalled that he wanted to scrap indeterminate sentences - where criminals can be kept in jail until they are no longer a danger to the public.

But his decisions were blasted by former Labour Justice Secretary Jack Straw, who brought in the party ban.

He imposed it two years ago after The Sun revealed how some of Britain's vilest women killers staged a sick "Monsters' Ball" at London's Holloway Prison, dressed as devils and vampires.

Mr Straw said last night: "When I introduced a balanced and reasonable public acceptability test on prisoner activity the Tories welcomed it.

"They said the public expect dangerous offenders to be 'sent to prison for life not to be sent to prison to have parties'.

"But now they're abolishing indeterminate sentences for the most serious criminals while restoring the right for prisoners to party. Law-abiding people, and especially victims, will be incredulous."

Mr Blunt said he was "pleased" to axe the ban in a keynote address yesterday to mark the 100th anniversary of a Winston Churchill speech on prison reform.

The posh ex-Cavalry officer declared he was only "vaguely conscious of some row in the tabloids about offenders being recorded as enjoying themselves".

Mr Blunt, uncle of sexy British actress Emily Blunt, went on to say Churchill was opposed to indeterminate sentences. He added: "I've not seen anything to suggest that Churchill's instinct was not correct."


And the Ministry of Justice last night defended Mr Blunt's decision to allow parties, saying: "Arts activities have a part to play in reducing re-offending."

Yet at the Holloway Monsters' Ball the leering killers had covered themselves in fake blood.

They included Rochelle Etherington, 21, who beat her neighbour to death and Emma Last, 22, who set light to a love rival. Double killer Bella Coll, and murderesses Amie Bartholomew, Jayne Richards and Alison Walder were also there.

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Nil By Mouth

He was studying criminology, with an emphasis on homicide, and told acquaintances that he was doing "a PhD in Jack the Ripper." He had a fascination with Nazi symbology and famous serial killers that he expressed online under the handle "Ven Pariah."

"Humanity is not merely a biological condition. It is also a state of mind," Griffiths/Pariah wrote in one post. "On that basis I am a pseudo-human at best. A demon at worst."

Locals told reporters that Griffiths was a familiar presence in the neighbourhood because of his habitual outfit of round glasses and black leather overcoat. He was known as a loner who kept up to 100 rats at a time in a large trunk to feed his pet lizards.


Quote from: tiny_tove on July 23, 2010, 10:26:50 AM
Yet at the Holloway Monsters' Ball the leering killers had covered themselves in fake blood.

They did the mash! They did the monster mash!


Quote from: Nil By Mouth on July 23, 2010, 02:16:20 PM

He was studying criminology, with an emphasis on homicide, and told acquaintances that he was doing "a PhD in Jack the Ripper." He had a fascination with Nazi symbology and famous serial killers that he expressed online under the handle "Ven Pariah."

"Humanity is not merely a biological condition. It is also a state of mind," Griffiths/Pariah wrote in one post. "On that basis I am a pseudo-human at best. A demon at worst."

Locals told reporters that Griffiths was a familiar presence in the neighbourhood because of his habitual outfit of round glasses and black leather overcoat. He was known as a loner who kept up to 100 rats at a time in a large trunk to feed his pet lizards.

this nerd already attempted suicided after few days he got caught.
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US husband and wife arrested for coning and murdering vacationers in Bocas del Torres. The family that slays together stays together!


Just remembered that a guy was bludgeoned to death across the street from my apartment in December last year. Some friends found him after been missing a couple of days, he'd been smashed with some blunt object (from what I've gathered from details). He had no criminal records (most violence here is gang-related; executions in open areas, daytime etc), had been a citizen since 2006, had no income whatsoever, no clues as to the killer's identity, no sound of fighting the day when he should have died. Police came over and asked a few questions, but I hadn't heard or seen anything. Malmö is a lovely town (ask TheGreatExtacy).


Grading evil in peacetime:

QuoteColumbia University professor Michael Stone knows evil. He's a forensic psychologist — the type of expert that provides testimony on the mental state of accused murderers when a declaration of insanity can mean the difference between life and death row.

Inspired by the structure of Dante's circles of hell, Stone has created his own 22-point "Gradations of Evil" scale, made up of murderers in the 20th century. "I thought it would be an interesting thing to do," he says.


Asian gang of predators abused and raped up to 100 girls as young as 12

check the link for mugshots

By Andy Dolan
Last updated at 7:42 AM on 25th November 2010

    * Comments (81)
    * Add to My Stories

An Asian gang of 'sexual predators' cruised city streets for girls as young as 12 - usually white - who were then plied with drink and drugs and raped or abused.

Up to 100 'vulnerable' girls may have been groomed, abused or supplied cocaine by married fathers Abid ­Saddique and Mohammed Liaqat, and their friends.

A court heard the pair used Liaqat's BMW saloon to trawl for victims, pulling up alongside girls outside shops or schools and chatting them up before a 'campaign of calls and texts' to groom them.

Saddique, 27, and Liaqat, 28, plied the ­victims - most from broken homes - with vodka and cocaine before taking them to 'parties' in hotels or flats with other gang members to rape or degrade them.

When girls refused their advances they were threatened with hammers or thrown out of cars.

Yesterday Saddique and Liaqat, each British-born and of Pakistani origin with an arranged marriage, faced years behind bars after being found guilty of a catalogue of ­sexual abuse over an 18-month period.

Reporting restrictions were lifted at the end of a third and final trial into the Derby gang's activities.

Seven other guilty members of the gang have already been jailed.

One of 26 alleged victims concerned in the gang's trials was a 14-year-old straight-A student from a middle-class home.

Meanwhile, one victim was in care, a second was with council foster parents and others were known to social services. Questions will now be asked about whether the various agencies worked well enough together to protect the girls.

The inquiry began in late 2008 when Saddique and Liaqat, both fathers-of-one, were arrested for shoplifting and two young girls were discovered with alcohol in their car.

Police swooped in April 2009 when two teenagers came out of a flat officers were watching and reported they had been raped. The surveillance teams had not known the girls were there.

After yesterday's verdicts at Leicester Crown Court, a senior officer warned that child exploitation and abuse was a 'hidden' problem nationwide.

Detective Inspector Sean Dawson, of Derbyshire Police, said: 'I would appeal to parents to monitor their children's phones... and think about if they come home smelling of alcohol or clutching gifts. These are all signs that children could be being groomed.'

He said that although all of the victims were white except for three mixed-race girls and two Asians, the men were 'out for whatever sex they could get' and did not care what race their victims were. The oldest victim was 18 but most were aged between 14 and 16.

One girl described a sexual assault involving at least eight men, although charges in relation to that incident were not proceeded with.

Many attacks were filmed on mobile phones as 'trophies'.

The inquiry, called Operation Retriever, is the biggest child sex investigation ever conducted by Derbyshire Police. A total of 75 charges were brought against 13 suspects - all of Derby. Four were cleared.

Saddique, from Normanton, Derby, was convicted of four rapes, two false imprisonment charges, aiding and abetting rape, three counts of sexual activity with a child, two sexual assaults, being involved with child pornography and attempting to pervert the course of justice. An additional rape charge was ordered to lie on the file when the jury could not reach a verdict.

Unemployed Liaqat, of Sinfin, Derby, was convicted of rape, aiding and abetting rape, being involved with child pornography, two sexual assaults, four counts of sexual activity with a child, and affray.

Of the other defendants, Akshay Kumar, 38, Faisal Mehmood, 24, Mohamed Imran Rehman, 26, Ziafat Yasin, 31, and Graham Blackham, 26 - a convicted sex offender who was the only non-Asian member of the gang to face a judge - have already been jailed after being convicted of a string of sex or drug offences.

Liaqat's brother, Naweed, 33, and Farooq Amed, 28, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and were both jailed for 18 months.

Convictions were achieved in relation to 15 of the 26 victims across the three trials.

Saddique and Liaqat will be sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court in January.

A Serious Case Review by Derby Safeguarding Children Board is due to be published about the case imminently.

'At first I saw them as father figures'

One victim, who was raped in a car after being driven to a country lane by Liaqat and a second man, told how she was targeted aged 16 after telling the men she came from a broken home.

She said: 'They would take you out, buy you ice creams and take you out for a lovely nice meal. And there's part of you that thinks it's really exciting and there's part of you that thinks, "I have met this lovely nice man and he's taking me out for a really nice meal".
Teenage victim: The girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, repeatedly broke down in tears as she recounted her ordeal

Teenage victim: The girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, repeatedly broke down in tears as she recounted her ordeal

'And there's part of you that looks at these men as a father ­figure, as weird as it sounds, because you feel like they're going to keep you safe and they then abuse every part of that.

'They make you feel the most insecure you have felt in your entire life.'

The brunette, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, repeatedly broke down in tears as she recounted her ordeal in an interview with the BBC.

She said the gang asked questions such as 'Who do you live with?' in order to work out 'what kind of protection you've got, what kind of safety you've got, who's going to stick up for you if they do anything'.

She added: 'They actually take advantage of the fact that no one does care about you really. They make you feel as if they're on your side and that you are in a real relationship and they just abuse any feelings of love and caring about people. I think they're evil. I just cannot understand what has made them so evil.'

During the first trial in March, the teenager told the jury she was picked up around 1am then the men bought vodka at a petrol station.

After pulling up in the lane, they got into the back of the car, sitting on either side of her, and began molesting her. She was then forced down and restrained as one of the men raped her.

Sobbing, the teenager told the court that her attacker then got back in the driver's seat and 'put the music on and acted like nothing had happened'.

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Inside a Sexual Assault Referral Centre

Sarcs were set up to make it easier for victims of rape to come forward for treatment and advice – and to boost the conviction rate of rapists. But is their future funding under threat?

          o Amelia Gentleman
          o The Guardian, Thursday 25 November 2010
          o Article history

The Initial Room is cleaned throroughly to prevent contamination of evidence. The Initial Room is cleaned throroughly to prevent contamination of evidence. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

At 11am a young woman wearing pink striped pyjamas is led into a discreet side entrance of St Mary's hospital, Manchester, by a huge, bearded police officer, keys jangling from the breast pocket of his black nylon stab vest, vast brown paper evidence bags tucked beneath his arm.

She says that in the early hours of that morning she was raped by an acquaintance, a man she had spent the evening chatting to in a pub. The police have brought her here to the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (Sarc) to undergo a forensic examination, receive counselling and be advised on and supported in the process of pressing charges.

Everything about the unit has been designed to avoid further humiliation for the victim. The side door is deliberately unmarked, allowing women who have recently been assaulted to avoid the embarrassment of being paraded through the hospital alongside police. The woman is led to a door marked Initial Room, a forensically safe, sterile space with wipe-clean plastic surfaces so that there is no possible contamination of evidence before she is examined. Pictures of orchids and sacks of brightly coloured oriental spices have been hung in a not wholly successful attempt to dilute the clinical atmosphere. A crisis worker sits with her, explaining what is about to happen, while the officer slips across the corridor to brief the doctor.

He runs through his logbook notes of her account, in curtly formal police officialese. "She visited a public house. She met up with a male," he reads. "The offence happened round about two this morning." He explains that she and a girlfriend had met up with a man she vaguely knew, and later the three of them went back to a house; after some time, he said he wanted to have a word with her in private and when she followed him, he raped her. She was shouting a lot, telling him to get off and to stop, and her friend heard and said she would call the police. "At which point he stopped and left the address," the policeman finishes. Beneath the formality he is gently solicitous for the girl's wellbeing and explains that she is exhausted and has had no sleep.

Manchester's police service has a good reputation for its handling of sexual assaults, and this officer has been given extensive training in how to interview women who have been raped. While he can ask her any of the "when", "where", "what" and "how" questions, he knows he is not to ask "why". A line of questioning that looks at her own decisions, questions her choice to go home with someone, to be alone with them, suggests that she should blame herself for the assault and must be avoided.

The woman walked home by herself and the police arrived at her house in the early hours of the morning to take a statement and collect her jeans and underwear for DNA testing, before bringing her here for a full examination. The doctor, a specialist in handling rape cases, makes her own notes, before going to meet the victim to start a physical examination that will take more than two hours. Someone has stuck a public information poster on the wall above her computer that declares: "Rape – short word, long sentence." But the trouble is that rape, short word or not, usually doesn't result in a long sentence, which is why this unit has been set up.

Campaigners tell us that only 6% of reported rapes in this country end up with the rapist convicted, one of the lowest rates in Europe. The figure is controversial, dismissed by some as unhelpfully discouraging, making victims feel so cynical about the process that they do not bother to press charges. The police point out that the rate of conviction for those who are actually charged with rape is a more encouraging 58%, but there remain a large number of reported rapes where charges are never pressed. Years of hostile treatment in the courts, at police stations, at the hands of juries, has left a lingering sense that rape victims are not believed, and many prefer not to submit to unwelcome scrutiny. The 29 Sarcs in England and Wales are described officially as victim-centred medical units, one-stop shops designed to improve the immediate care provided to rape victims, primarily to help them recover better from the attack, and as a side-effect, to boost the conviction rate by supporting women through the prosecution process.

Sarc is staffed 24-7, with doctors constantly on call, so that victims can be seen quickly whenever they are attacked – usually in the middle of the night (with spikes in numbers around Christmas party time, freshers' week, the hot weeks of summer and any time when people are drinking more than usual).

The unit is equipped to gather the most comprehensive forensic evidence, offer advice on sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy, and provide counselling and assistance throughout a legal process. For those women who decide not to press charges, the support is still on offer. Clothes are stored, and forensic evidence kept in a freezer for seven years in case they change their mind and want to take legal action later.

Vera Baird, Labour's former solicitor general and a champion of the new system, remembers how badly women were treated as recently as a decade ago. "It's very different from going to a police station and knocking on the glass window, probably in a crowded, noisy waiting room, blood on the floor, to tell someone you'd been raped. You would have had to sit there and wait until they found a police medical officer, who'd perhaps come straight from certifying someone dead in the road, or assessing a heroin addict's ability to give evidence, and who wouldn't be a specialist in this area of forensics," she says. "Sarcs treat you like a patient, someone to whom this has happened, with none of the scepticism of a police officer. This gives people the fortitude to go ahead and report the attack."

Upstairs at the morning meeting there are eight women – doctors, counsellors, independent sexual violence advisers (who help victims navigate the legal process) – discussing the cases that have come through over the weekend. First there is the mother of a three-year-old girl, who suspects that the estranged father may have abused her daughter because she has been complaining of a pain and has started crying when she sees him. The girl is booked to come in for an examination later in the morning.

Then there is a student who had a lot to drink and woke up on the floor of the student accommodation, not knowing what had happened for several hours. She is worried she may have been raped.

Next a 17-year-old woman who had been out drinking with her friends. She met up with three lads, whom she recognised, and ended up in a hotel room; she suspects that her drink was spiked and remembers very little of what happened, just the sensation of her face being pushed on to the bed and her arm being bitten.

Last is a Bulgarian woman, in her 20s, whose story had to be untangled through an interpreter. It seems she has been trafficked, brought over here by a Bulgarian man, with the suggestion that she would be employed to look after his children, and perhaps have an opportunity to marry him at some point in the future. She has been examined and counselled but is unwilling to press charges

"She was looking for a better life, but was treated really badly. She was raped on the first day and only managed to escape after two weeks," a counsellor says. "She's asked the police not to take action because she is frightened about reprisals, because the man knows where she lives in Bulgaria."

Staff run through the cases expressing little emotion, skimming through notes biro'd on to pink paper, elbows on the table. Only occasionally do they wince at an unexpected detail.

Michelle Carol, one of the forensic physicians who perform detailed examinations on victims, says women are not put under any pressure to report the case to the police if they don't want to, but staff will try to help them see that they will be believed. "Sometimes they are nervous about how they will be received by the police. They think they will be blamed. A lot of the time they are blaming themselves anyway – if only I hadn't got drunk, if only I hadn't got in that taxi by myself – so they wonder why anyone else would come to another conclusion. We have to explain that this is not about their behaviour, it is about someone else's," she says.

"The police have historically a bad reputation in this area and it's not something that they have shaken off. The view was that many allegations were false, and that they had to weed them out. Often the public are the same. Sometimes we will get a client who thinks that she hasn't really been raped because it doesn't fit into the stereotype of someone being dragged off the streets and beaten, abused and then violently raped. But the bottom line is if you haven't given consent, it's rape, and that's it."

She says most people have ill-informed preconceptions about how a rape victim will behave. "People think they would shout and fight, but they don't. Often they freeze, do nothing. They think they are going to die and think only about self-preservation. They tell themselves: 'Do what he says and then it will be over, and maybe I will survive.' They don't always want to report the attack straight away. They want to crawl into a corner and forget it," she says.

"We don't want to give the impression that we are judging anyone or blaming them, but alcohol is very often a feature because that is when people are often vulnerable. The majority of rapists are acquaintances or well known to them or someone they have spent an evening chatting to, rather than a total stranger."

Each examination can last up to three or four hours, taken at the individual's pace, and is painstakingly methodical and precise to ensure that nothing is missed and that all the evidence found is carefully measured and noted, so it will stand up to scrutiny in court. The work is inevitably gruelling, and being alone with the victim and one crisis worker for long stretches can be quite isolating. Even after several years with the unit, Carol is still occasionally shocked by "the callousness of human nature", constantly "being exposed to the horror of what humans can do".

"If you were emotionally moved by every case, you would be no help to anyone, so you develop coping mechanisms but it's not always possible," she says. "Gang rape is particularly hard. You can understand that there are individuals who are just nasty pieces of work or who have their own mental health problems, but when you have a group of people, you wonder why none of them stood back and said: 'This is wrong.' We see that on a regular basis."

Staff here have a good sense of why rape cases still do not result in as many successful prosecutions as they should. When cases rest on consent, pitting one person's words against another, with no witness to support either side, then even the most expertly gathered forensic evidence may not secure a conviction.

Sharon Scotson, a DCI with Greater Manchester police, who works with Sarc to try to increase the prosecution rate, says victims need to be handled sensitively right from the start. "If you don't get it right in the first instance – if you don't secure evidence, get witnesses, gather CCTV, if the victim is not dealt with properly the first time – then you could lose an investigation," she says. "If the police officer says, 'Well, why did you do that?' then the victim will be lost straight away."

Part of the problem, she concedes, is that successful campaigns have helped police officers shed preconceptions about rape and sensitised NHS staff in handling these cases, but the general public – from which juries are drawn – remain ill-informed, and so cases will be lost.

"It's down to 12 members of a jury, who will have their own preconceived notions," she says. "We have to rely on our victims being able to vocalise, to be able to justify themselves: 'Why didn't you scream, why didn't you run away, why didn't you defend yourself?'

"The victim has to prove that something has happened to them. If you have had a burglary, you don't have to prove that you have been burgled. People tend to believe you."

Alison Barber, a detective sergeant who heads a rape investigation unit in Manchester, adds: "That's why it's so important to have specially trained police working with Sarcs. The victims who come to speak to us are believed, 100%, and it's our responsibility to gather the evidence and put their case before the courts."

A lot of cases are dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service before they get to court because it judges that there is not a "reasonable chance of conviction". If the victim is classified as "vulnerable" in some way, Home Office research suggests that the chances of conviction drop further. The Manchester Sarc's own analysis shows that the majority of the 1,000 or so women, men and children who visit the unit every year have some kind of vulnerability.

"I've seen everyone, from a prominent member of a political party down to an alcohol- and drug-addicted sex worker, but certain groups are over-represented," the unit's clinical director Dr Catherine White says. "People with mental health problems, alcohol problems, learning difficulties, children in care. That's obvious: predators are going to target the vulnerable. It is like a lion with a herd of gazelles . . . they are going to pick off the weakest. When we did an audit, 55% [of the people seen by the unit] were classified as vulnerable in some way."

She agrees that the women who come in are often inclined in the first instance to blame themselves, and are surprised at the way they've handled the situation. "We explain that just because you flirt with somebody, that doesn't mean you want anal sex in the public toilets down the road 10 minutes later," she says. "Also, people in stressful situations don't always manage to do what they'd like to do. Even if it's just an argument with your boss, you never think of the killer putdown line until later on. You always think, I should have said this or done that. You don't think of it until later."

Bernie Ryan, the centre's manager, would like to see more prosecutions, but she concedes that it's not always the best thing for the woman. "We always have to ask ourselves: 'If it happened to me, who would I want to tell?' If the perpetrator was my best friend's husband I might decide to tell nobody," she says. Still, she believes there is evidence to suggest that more cases are going to court than ever before across Manchester, estimating that the conviction rate there is around 68%, slightly higher than the national average.

The last government was committed to increasing the number of Sarcs across the country, in line with recommendations set out by Baroness Vivien Stern, who published an independent review into how rape complaints are handled just before the election. Campaigners have been alarmed by signals from the new government, with its early announcement of anonymity for rape defendants (only reversed earlier this month, after widespread fury), and there was further dismay at a decision by home secretary Theresa May to cancel an inquiry into what lessons could be learned from flawed police handling of the John Worboys and Kirk Reid rape cases (a London taxi driver and a chef and children's football coach who were both, separately, allowed to rape and sexually assault multiple victims before being caught).

A Home Office spokesman would only comment: "The government remains committed to ensuring every victim has access to the dedicated medical and support services they need to help them through their ordeal."

But Stern recently voiced concern that her recommendations would be ignored in the rush to find services that could easily be cut. "It would be very, very sad if we went back to the bad old days where rape victims were dealt with by untrained police and when they need a forensic examination they wait for hours in the custody suite for a police surgeon. We don't want to go back to those days," she said in a BBC interview. "Rape victims must not be forgotten."

Ryan says she would be "foolish not to be concerned" about future funding, but for the moment she is optimistic that their work is too valued to be lost.

In the children's room, where an effort has been made to cheer the atmosphere up with framed photographs of jelly babies and pink-iced cupcakes, Joanne Muccio, a child advocate, has been preparing a 13-year-old for a doctor's meeting and counselling. The girl was raped about two months ago by a family friend. She reported it a few weeks later and a test showed that she had been infected with chlamydia. It's too long ago for any forensic evidence to remain (a week is the outside limit), but the meeting will focus on offering support to the mother, who is very distressed, counselling the girl and discussing the legal process.

"If it's a child, I always ask them first: Do you have a loud voice? Do you know how to shout? You just shout, 'I don't want to do that, Joanne!' if you don't want to do anything," she says, anxious to ensure that a physical examination never echoes the original assault.

Downstairs in the examination suite, the doctor has finished collecting evidence from the 18-year-old who was raped in the night, and she has fallen asleep on a sofa in the room next door, waiting for the policeman to finish sealing up the evidence bags and drive her home. The doctor has found a scratch on the inside leg. "That doesn't show that it was forced, but there is more likely to be an injury if it is; the evidence would suggest that if you have an injury it is more likely to have been non-consensual. Still, most of the people we see don't have any injuries. Even if you have never had sex before it's quite likely there won't be any injuries. People don't realise that," she says.

The patient was not overtly distraught, the doctor says. "She was pretty exhausted. She said, 'I feel dirty,' which is what many say. Very few are overtly distressed by the time they get here. Very few are desperately, desperately upset. They feel they just have to keep on going. We do laugh and joke. The crisis worker will be there, on the side of the bed, holding her hand."

She thinks the case will hinge, as many cases do, on consent: "I just gather the evidence. I can't judge because I don't know the full story." The girl plans to press charges, but a formal police video interview will not be done until the following day, to allow her to get some sleep. The police officer hopes her resolve will not waver.

"Rape is one of the hardest offences to prove. That's the problem. A lot depends on how the victim comes across in interviews, how they come across on the stand, as to how the jury takes it," the officer says.

"You sometimes wish they would report, but knowing what happens when they go through the justice system you can understand why so many don't," the doctor says.

Even those who do not go on to report a rape will receive support from the staff for several weeks if they want it. White says the impact of their work is often visible in the demeanour of the woman as she leaves the unit. "The person who walks out two or three hours later is hugely different to the one who walked in. They might well be smiling. You treat them like human beings. It is part of the healing process," she says.

Names and some details have been changed to avoid identification of victims.

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SWITZERLAND is considering changing its incest laws to make sexual relations between family members LEGAL.

It claims the law banning incest is "obsolete", adding that the courts have dealt with just three cases since 1984.

The upper house of the Swiss parliament has drafted a law decriminalising sex between consenting family members which must now be considered by the government.

Switzerland insists that children within families will continue to be protected by laws governing abuse and paedophilia.

Politicians of both the left and right are said to be outraged at the suggested change.

But Green party MP and lawyer Daniel Vischer said he saw nothing wrong with two consenting adults having sex — even if they were related.

He added: "Incest is a difficult moral question, but not one that is answered by penal law."

Barbara Schmid Federer of The Christian People's Party of Switzerland slammed the proposal, saying it was "completely repugnant".

She said: "I for one could not countenance painting out such a law from the statute books."

The Protestant People's Party is also opposed to decriminalising the offence which at present carries a maximum three year jail term.

A spokesman for the party said: "Murder is also quite rare in Switzerland but no-one suggests that we remove that as an office from the statutes."

Members of the Swiss People's Party are calling for the proposed amendment to be struck down immediately and for incest laws to actually be beefed up.

Justice minister Simonetta Sommaruga has yet to decide whether to implement the proposal.

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Kosovo physicians accused of illegal organs removal racket

Medicus clinic linked in Council of Europe report to alleged Kosovo Liberation Army organ harvesting atrocities
yusuf sonmez

Turkish doctor Yusuf Sonmez, one of seven accused in Pristina of involvement in an illegal organs racket.

The story of how Kosovo hosted an illegal market in human organs began to unfold today in a district court in the capital, Pristina. As armed special forces stood outside, the court heard how desperate Russians, Moldovans, Kazakhs and Turks were lured into the capital "with the false promise of payments" for their kidneys.

EU prosecutor Jonathan Ratel told the court the organs had been illegally removed from victims and transplanted into wealthy recipients in the clinic, known as Medicus. Those who paid up to €90,000 (£76,400) for the black-market kidneys included patients from Canada, Germany, Poland and Israel, Ratel said.

Huddled in the centre of the room, in overcoats, were seven defendants alleged to have played some role in the racket. Among them were some of Kosovo's most respected physicians, including a former permanent secretary of health who is accused of abusing office to grant Medicus a false licence, and Dr Lutfi Dervishi, a urologist at the university hospital alleged to have set up the operation.

Two of their co-accused are fugitives wanted by Interpol: Moshe Harel, an Israeli said to have matched donors with recipients, and Yusuf Sonmez, perhaps the world's most renowned organ trafficker.

The story would be shocking enough if it ended there. But what the court did not hear is that the Medicus clinic has been linked in a Council of Europe report to a wider network of Albanian organised criminals. They are said to have had close links to senior officials in Kosovo's government, including the prime minister, Hashim Thaçi. Their supposed links to the underground organ market allegedly go back more than a decade when, in its most gruesome incarnation, the operation is said to have involved removing kidneys from murder victims. The allegations are contained in an official report into Kosovo's organ trade produced by the human rights rapporteur Dick Marty and obtained by the Guardian.

The Swiss senator conducted a two-year inquiry into organised crime in Kosovo after the Council of Europe mandated him to investigate claims of organ harvesting bythe Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) after the war with Serbia ended in 1999.

The claims initially surfaced two years ago, when the former chief war crimes prosecutor at The Hague, Carla Del Ponte, said she had been prevented from properly investigating alleged atrocities committed by the KLA. Marty's report suggests the KLA held Serbs and other captives in secret detention centres in Albania for almost a year after the war ended. A small number of prisoners, the report suggests, were transferred to a makeshift clinic just north of the capital Tirana, where they were shot in the head before their kidneys were removed.
The Albanian connection
The criminal trail is said to begin across the southern border, in the lawless mountains of northern Albania.

Serbia has long complained of atrocities committed by the KLA after July 1999, when Nato-led air strikes forced Slobodan Milosevic's troops to retreat from the province. Marty finds evidence for those concerns, stating that Kosovo's guerrilla army formed "a formidable power base in the organised criminal enterprises" in Kosovo and Albania. A group known as Drenica, led by Thaçi, became the KLA's dominant faction and senior KLA figures from the group hold senior positions in Kosovo's government today.

In 1999, Thaçi was identified as the most dangerous of the KLA's "criminal bosses" by intelligence reports, according to Marty. Thaçi's KLA group is also said to be the main organisation responsible for smuggling prisoners across the porous border. They were held in a network of detention facilities converted from warehouses, farm buildings and a disused factory. The report, , which states that it is not a criminal investigation and is unable to pronounce judgments of guilt or innocence, focuses on a key figure said to have played a central role in the organ operation. A KLA medical commander based in Albania, Shaip Muja remains a close confidante of Thaçi's, and is currently a political adviser in the office of the prime minister, with responsibility for health. "We have uncovered numerous convergent indications of Muja's central role [in] international networks, comprising human traffickers, brokers of illicit surgical procedures, and other perpetrators of organised crime," the report states.

Marty estimates that 40 captives survived being held prisoner in Albania, and are alive today. Others are thought to have been killed, including "scores" who he says were taken across the border after the war ended.

Among the makeshift prisons where captives were held, Marty identifies the famed Yellow House, near the town of Burrel. When the Guardian visited the property two years ago, the owners – the Katuci family – became hostile and denied wrongdoing. While the report concludes the Katuci family home was not the site of organ harvesting, it states that captive Serbs were taken there after the Katucis moved out and the KLA took over the property. The Yellow House and other ad hoc jails function as way stations in which KLA operatives selected candidates for organ removal, Marty says.

After medical checks and blood tests, he says a "handful" were moved to a farmhouse in Fushë-Krujë, a town north of the Albanian capital, Tirana. According to the report, some of these prisoners became aware of the fate that awaited them, and are said to have pleaded not to be "chopped into pieces". The report adds: "The testimonies on which we based our findings spoke credibly and consistently of a methodology by which all of the captives were killed, usually by a gunshot to the head, before being operated on to remove one or more of their organs."

The Guardian has established that organs are believed to have been shipped to Istanbul, in a criminal racket operated by Yusuf Sonmez, the same Turkish doctor wanted by Interpol for his alleged involvement in the Medicus clinic.
Pristina airport

An incident at Pristina airport finally led police down a dirt track to Medicus, a nondescript building around six miles away.

When a 23-year-old Turkish man, Yilman Altun, fainted in front of customs officials in November 2008 while he waited for his flight to Istanbul officials lifted his shirt and discovered a fresh scar on his abdomen. The next day, Kosovo police raided Medicus and discovered a 74-year-old Israeli, Bezalel Shafran, who, according to the indictment read out in court today, revealed he had paid €90,000 for a stolen kidney. Both "donor" and recipient identified Sonmez as having been involved in the surgical procedure. That discovery triggered the investigation that led to the start of legal proceedings in Pristina today . After the confirmation hearing, Judge Hugo Pardal will consider whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial. Ratel told the court police had uncovered detailed evidence of organ transplants at the clinic, including records of wire transfers for payments and blood tests taken before the procedures. He estimated there were 20-30 victims in the first eight months of 2008 alone, all tricked into believing they would be paid for their organs by middle men in Istanbul.

All defendants in the Medicus case pleaded not guilty.

Regardless of the outcome of the case, it will be the alleged link between Medicus and KLA organ harvesting that will receive most attention when Marty's report is presented for adoption by an 83-member committee of the Council of Europe in Paris on Thursday . The connection is made explicit in Marty's findings, which refer to "credible, convergent indications" that the removal of organs from prisoners in Albania a decade ago is "closely related to the contemporary case of the Medicus clinic". In making the link, Marty refers to prominent "Kosovan Albanian and international figures" who figure as "co-conspirators" in both organ rackets. Their names have been omitted from the report "out of respect" to the Kosovo judicial process.

However, senior Kosovo government sources have told the Guardian those figures are almost certainly Shaip Muja and Yusuf Sonmez. They are the two names mentioned independently by a Washington-based intelligence source who has monitored criminal networks involving KLA figures since 1999. The source described the pair as "the common thread" tying Medicus to KLA activities in 1999 and 2000.

"It is Muja who got into business with Yusuf Sonmez on his trips to Turkey around the time of the Kosovo war, which resulted in kidneys being secreted out of Albania to Istanbul," the source said. "It's no coincidence that he also played a role in the creation of Medicus, less than a decade later."

The source added: "In many respects the two are similar operations. In both cases, you've got illegal outfits linking senior players among the Kosovar Albanians trading in the organs of innocent victims, playing into an international racket to profit from the surgeries of Sonmez."

    * Paul Lewis in Pristina
    *, Tuesday 14 December 2010 15.17 GMT

And guess who is now leading Kosovo:

Kosovo PM is head of human organ and arms ring, Council of Europe reports

Two-year inquiry accuses Albanian 'mafia-like' crime network of killing Serb prisoners for their kidneys
Hashim Thaci, prime minister of Kosovo

Hashim Thaci, prime minister of Kosovo. Photograph: Dieter Nagl/AFP/Getty Images

Kosovo's prime minister is the head of a "mafia-like" Albanian group responsible for smuggling weapons, drugs and human organs through eastern Europe, according to a Council of Europe inquiry report on organised crime.

Hashim Thaçi is identified as the boss of a network that began operating criminal rackets in the runup to the 1999 Kosovo war, and has held powerful sway over the country's government since.

The report of the two-year inquiry, which cites FBI and other intelligence sources, has been obtained by the Guardian. It names Thaçi as having over the last decade exerted "violent control" over the heroin trade. Figures from Thaçi's inner circle are also accused of taking captives across the border into Albania after the war, where a number of Serbs are said to have been murdered for their kidneys, which were sold on the black market.

Legal proceedings began in a Pristina district court today into a case of alleged organ trafficking discovered by police in 2008. That case – in which organs are said to have been taken from impoverished victims at a clinic known as Medicus – is said by the report to be linked to Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) organ harvesting in 2000. It comes at a crucial period for Kosovo, which on Sunday held its first elections since declaring independence from Serbia in 2008. Thaçi claimed victory in the election and has been seeking to form a coalition with opposition parties.

Dick Marty, the human rights investigator behind the inquiry, will present his report to European diplomats from all 47 member states at a meeting in Paris on Thursday. His report suggests Thaçi's links with organised crime date back more than a decade, when those loyal to his Drenica group came to dominate the KLA, and seized control of "most of the illicit criminal enterprises" in which Kosovans were involved south of the border, in Albania.

During the Kosovo conflict Slobodan Miloševic's troops responded to attacks by the KLA by orchestrating a horrific campaign against ethnic Albanians in the territory. As many as 10,000 are estimated to have died at the hands of Serbian troops.

While deploring Serb atrocities, Marty said the international community chose to ignore suspected war crimes by the KLA, "placing a premium instead on achieving some degree of short-term stability". He concludes that during the Kosovo war and for almost a year after, Thaçi and four other members of the Drenica group named in the report carried out "assassinations, detentions, beatings and interrogations". This same hardline KLA faction has held considerable power in Kosovo's government over the last decade, with the support of western powers keen to ensure stability in the fledgling state.

The report paints a picture in which ex-KLA commanders have played a crucial role in the region's criminal activity. It says: "In confidential reports spanning more than a decade, agencies dedicated to combating drug smuggling in at least five countries have named Hashim Thaçi and other members of his Drenica group as having exerted violent control over the trade in heroin and other narcotics."

Marty says: "Thaçi and these other Drenica group members are consistently named as 'key players' in intelligence reports on Kosovo's mafia-like structures of organised crime. I have examined these diverse, voluminous reports with consternation and a sense of moral outrage."

His inquiry was commissioned after the former chief prosecutor for war crimes at the Hague, Carla Del Ponte, said she had been prevented from investigating senior KLA officials. Her most shocking claim, which she said required further investigation, was that the KLA smuggled captive Serbs across the border into Albania, where their organs were harvested.

The report, which states that it is not a criminal investigation and unable to pronounce judgments of guilt or innocence, gives some credence to Del Ponte's claims.

It finds the KLA did hold mostly Serb captives in a secret network of six detention facilities in northern Albania, and that Thaçi's Drenica group "bear the greatest responsibility" for prisons and the fate of those held in them.

They include a "handful" of prisoners said to have been transferred to a makeshift prison just north of Tirana, where they were killed for their kidneys.

The report states: "As and when the transplant surgeons were confirmed to be in position and ready to operate, the captives were brought out of the 'safe house' individually, summarily executed by a KLA gunman, and their corpses transported swiftly to the operating clinic.''

The same Kosovan and foreign individuals involved in the macabre killings are linked to the Medicus case, the report finds.

Marty is critical of the western powers which have provided a supervisory role in Kosovo's emergence as a state, for failing to hold senior figures, including Thaçi, to account. His report criticises "faltering political will on the part of the international community to effectively prosecute the former leaders of the KLA".

It concludes: "The signs of collusion between the criminal class and the highest political and institutional office holders are too numerous and too serious to be ignored.

"It is a fundamental right of Kosovo's citizens to know the truth, the whole truth, and also an indispensable condition for reconciliation between the communities and the country's prosperous future."

If as expected the report is formally adopted by the committee this week, the findings will go before the parliamentary assembly next year.

The Kosovo government tonight dismissed the allegations, claiming they were the produce of "despicable and bizarre actions by people with no moral credibility".

"Today, the Guardian published an article that referred to a report from a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Dick Marty, which follows up on past reports published over the last 12 years aiming at maligning the war record of the Kosovo Liberation Army and its leaders," it said in a statement.

"The allegations have been investigated several times by local and international judiciary, and in each case, it was concluded that such statements have were not based on facts and were construed to damage the image of Kosovo and the war of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

"It is clear that someone wants to place obstacles in the way of prime minister, Hashim Thaçi, after the general election, in which the people of Kosovo placed their clear and significant trust in him to deliver the development programme and governance of our country.

"Such despicable and bizarre actions by people with no moral credibility, serve the ends of only those specific circles that do not wish well to Kosovo and its people."

    * Paul Lewis in Pristina
    *, Tuesday 14 December 2010 15.17 GMT

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Colin Blanchard could spend life in jail for role in paedophile ring

Judge gives former IT consultant an indeterminate sentence, emphasising he is so dangerous that he may never be freed

    * Steven Morris
    *, Monday 10 January 2011 18.36 GMT
    * Article history

Colin Blanchard trial Colin Blanchard was described as a 'manipulator who used people for his own ends', by Detective Constable Andy Pilling, above centre, outside Bristol crown court. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Colin Blanchard, the IT consultant who created and shared images of child sex abuse with nursery worker Vanessa George, could spend the rest of his life in jail for his role as the "hub" of a paedophile ring.

Blanchard was given an indeterminate sentence for the protection of the public after being described today by the sentencing judge, Mr Justice Royce, as "warped, wicked, dangerous, devious and manipulative".

Royce said the parole board should not consider Blanchard for release until he had served at least nine years but was keen to emphasise that he was so dangerous he might never be freed.

"I have no doubt whatsoever that Colin Blanchard constitutes a high risk of serious harm to children," he said. Addressing Blanchard directly, he continued: "If the parole board is not satisfied it is safe to you to be released then you will remain in prison for the rest of your days."

Royce said Blanchard, 40, was a "Svengali-like" character, a "predator" who encouraged four women, including George, to abuse children and take pictures of that abuse. "Your pernicious grooming of women whose sexual interest in children you stimulate, then nurture and feed on is plain to see. You were the hub of this paedophile wheel," he said.

Also sentenced were former adult careworkers Tracy Lyons, 41, and Tracy Dawber, 44, who were both jailed for four years. George, 40, and the fourth woman, Angela Allen, 40, are already serving indeterminate sentences.

Outside Bristol crown court, police said they believed they had found all of those involved in the ring. Detective Constable Andy Pilling, of Greater Manchester Police, said Blanchard was a "manipulator who used people for his own ends." He said it was "possible" that without Blanchard the women would never have abused children but added: "No one should be under the misapprehension that they were somehow forced into abusing children – they willingly took part."

The sentencing means all members of what the Crown Prosecution Service has described as "one of the most sickening paedophile rings this country has seen" are behind bars.

But the judge reminded the court that the impact of the group's crimes would be felt for many years yet.

The case, he said, had caused "widespread revulsion and disbelief." He told Blanchard: "With your encouragement Vanessa George used her position as nursery worker at Little Ted's nursery [in Plymouth] to photograph herself abusing little children in her care. You must have known what a terrible breach of trust that was going to involve. You did not care a jot."

Royce said e-mails and texts between Blanchard, George and the fifth woman, Angela Allan, were "deeply disturbing." He flagged up one in which Blanchard discussed with George "raping a baby until it dies". "These and others are sickening and reveal attitudes of breathtaking depravity," said the judge. "You also made it clear in communications with Vanessa George that you had groomed or were in the process of grooming a mother who had young children."

Defending Blanchard, Greville Davis said he had been abused as a child by an uncle and his uncle's friends, which had left a "deep psychological scar". The uncle is now dead.

For Lyons, Stephen Smyth, said she was a "vulnerable" woman who was "targeted" by Blanchard. Dawber's barrister, Anne Brown said Blanchard was a person who could "draw" women in. He had appeared to be a "lifeline" to her when she was lonely and isolated. Dawber, the only woman who had actually met Blanchard before the ring was discovered, had grown "dependent on him".

The gang was brought to justice after a work colleague of Blanchard found child abuse images on his computer in June 2009 and called police. Detectives discovered that Blanchard met the women on Facebook and possibly on other sites and encouraged them to abuse children and share the images of the abuse taking place.

Blanchard, of Rochdale, George, of Plymouth, Allen, from Nottinghamshire, and Lyons, of Portsmouth, pleaded guilty to a string of charges of sexual assault and making and possessing child pornography.

Dawber, who was from Merseyside, was found guilty by a jury of sexually abusing a child and allowing Blanchard himself to take pictures of it.

It emerged during the sentencing hearing that Lyons had worked as a volunteer for a nursery – though only on two occasions and always while with others.

The judge addressed remarks directly to Blanchard who declined to stand in the dock because he said he could not bear to be close to Dawber.
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