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Swiss justice slammed as 'serial rapist' strikes again

Published: 02 Mar 2012 14:04 GMT+01:00
Updated: 02 Mar 2012 11:34 GMT+01:00

The Swiss justice system is facing accusations of laxity after revelations about a Bern machinist arrested for sexual assaulting a woman despite previous convictions for more than 20 similar offences.

The 55-year-old man, identified as Markus W., allegedly forced himself upon a woman in a car after drugging her in a repetition of previous similar crimes.

At the time of the incident he was wearing an electronic surveillance bracelet as a penalty for earlier sex crimes.

Blick newspaper revealed this week that the “serial rapist” had sexually abused and assaulted 22 women in cases stretching back to 1983.

The man was first sentenced in 1985 to seven years behind bars and escaped several times, the newspaper reported.

Markus W. disappeared to Germany between 1993 and 1997 before being extradited and returned to Swiss prison.

He escaped from prison in Lucerne two more times in 1998 and 2006 after being jailed for an indefinite period.

But after he made repeated requests for a more lenient sentence, a Lucerne court approved his conditional release last year, with provisions to wear the bracelet and report to a probation officer and psychotherapist.

The judge in the case stated that Markus W. had fulfilled the criteria necessary for his conditional release, although Lucerne’s penal and probation services had opposed the decision.

The man moved to Basel, where he was arrested in February.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

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