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Two French police officers facing preliminary rape charges

Photo: AFP

Preliminary charges have been made against two of the four elite French police officers accused of raping a Canadian tourist at their Paris headquarters, legal sources said Sunday.

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Under French law, preliminary charges do not necessarily lead to prosecution, but France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in a statement sent to AFP that the two officers would "face the full consequences" if they were found guilty.

Two others accused over the alleged rape were released on Saturday without charge, though one has been given the status of “assisted witness” – something of a grey area in French law denoting a person somewhere between an ordinary witness and someone facing a formal charge.

All four officers, members of France’s elite BRI unit that fights gang crime, were accused of raping a 34-year-old Canadian woman after meeting her in a Paris pub on Tuesday.

French media say the woman agreed to follow the policemen to the “36 quai des Orfèvres” - the HQ of Paris’s criminal police dubbed France’s “Scotland Yard” – where the alleged rape took place.

Officer claims sexual relations were “consensual”

The men were placed in custody on Thursday after the woman filed a complaint.

Though they all initially denied having sex of any kind with the victim, one of the officers admitted at a hearing in front of a judge Saturday that he had in fact had "sexual relations" with her,  but claimed it was entirely consensual.

A judicial investigation was launched Saturday and initial medical examinations on the victim showed evidence consistent with one or more instances of sexual intercourse, French daily Le Monde reported.

A slight injury was also found on the woman, said the newspaper, while the results of DNA tests on the samples taken by investigators are still being processed.

Searches of the officers’ homes, along with '36 quai des Orfèvres', have been carried out by members of France’s General Inspectorate of the National Police (IGPN), said Cazeneuve, while CCTV footage from the Paris police headquarters is also being examined.

The accused are also facing allegations of tampering with the scene of a crime. A source close to the investigation said the woman's glasses and stockings disappeared from the alleged site of the rape after she filed the complaint.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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