Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola virus : Liberia shuts most border points

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

"What would you do?"

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

FOCUS

As France’s Carrefour pulls out, what next for India’s retail market?

Read more

#TECH 24

Internet of Things

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

  • Israel warns of ‘prolonged’ campaign in Gaza

    Read more

  • In pictures: From Gaza to Mosul, bittersweet end of Ramadan for Muslims

    Read more

  • France offers asylum to Iraqi Christians

    Read more

  • Tripoli threatened by out of control blaze

    Read more

  • Moroccan police arrest French al-Qaeda recruiter

    Read more

  • Washington accuses Moscow of violating arms treaty, agrees on tougher sanctions with European partners

    Read more

  • French mayor files complaint against US father who risked kids’ lives on Mont Blanc

    Read more

  • French footballer Griezmann headed to Atletico Madrid

    Read more

  • Luc Besson’s sci-fi thriller ‘Lucy’ tops US box office

    Read more

  • Video: Slaviansk mourns mass grave victims

    Read more

  • France honours those lost on Air Algérie Flight AH5017

    Read more

  • Video: Ethiopia turns to wine to boost image, economy

    Read more

  • Thousands gather in Marseille in support of Israel

    Read more

  • As France’s Carrefour pulls out, what next for India’s retail market?

    Read more

  • Liberia tightens border controls to curb Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • The centenary of Austria-Hungary’s calamitous last hurrah

    Read more

  • Nibali joins elite group with Tour de France win

    Read more

France

French police begin mass DNA test in hunt for school rapist

© AFP

Video by Sanam SHANTYAEI

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-04-14

French police began collecting DNA samples from hundreds of students and staff at a school in western France on Monday in an attempt to identify the assailant who raped a teenage girl last year.

Police in La Rochelle began testing more than 500 male pupils and staff in their hunt for the perpetrator of the assault on a 16-year-old girl in the toilets of Fenelon-Notre-Dame high school last September.

Two police officers were deployed at the Catholic school to take saliva samples from the 475 students, 31 teachers and 21 other staff members believed to have been present at the time of the attack.

The victim was raped in the dark and unable to identify her attacker but police managed to retrieve a DNA imprint — the equivalent of a unique genetic barcode — from her clothing.

The DNA tests, ordered by public prosecutor Isabelle Pagenelle, are due to be completed by mid-week, with results expected in a month.

'Looking for the match'

“The choice is simple for me,” Pagenelle told reporters. “Either I wait for a match in what could be several years, or I go looking for the match myself.”

“We must have the consent both both the parents and the minor,” she added, “but those who say no will become potential suspects who could be taken into custody.”

Authorities said samples that do not match the DNA found on the victim will be destroyed.

“The operation began calmly at 8 a.m.,” Anne-Sophie Guilbot, a spokeswoman for the Fenelon-Notre-Dame school, told Reuters.

Many of the students said they were willing to give samples in the hope of tracking down the rapist.

"Everyone is participating without too much hassle because we stand by the girl who was raped and want to find whoever was responsible," said Lucas, a 17-year-old student.

Concerned about their own security, some students asked why the authorities had waited so long after the attack before carrying out the tests.

“I don't know why it took so long, it's not normal. The rapist may have been in the school for the past seven months,” said 16-year-old Margaux.

Rights violation

Others have condemned the mass test as a violation of civil rights.

“Refusing to give a DNA sample when not in custody is a right,” prominent lawyer Joseph Cohen-Sabban told Le Figaro newspaper.

French courts rarely order mass DNA tests, and when they do they generally target specific categories of people.

The only example of blanket sampling was in Pleine-Fougères (Brittany), where British schoolgirl Caroline Dickinson was murdered in 1996 and police tested more than 400 inhabitants the following year.

Francisco Arce Montes, a Spanish national, was not among those tested but he was arrested in the US in 2001 and convicted of the murder through an individual DNA match.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP, Reuters)
 

Date created : 2014-04-14

  • FRANCE

    French police baffled by twins' DNA in series of rapes

    Read more

COMMENT(S)