• Switzerland's news in English

Bern police storm home of accused HIV 'healer'

Malcolm Curtis · 15 Mar 2013, 13:48

Published: 15 Mar 2013 13:48 GMT+01:00

The 54-year-old music teacher threatened to shoot at police in a dramatic standoff that began on Thursday after officers sought to bring him to court.

Bern police said they arrested him and a woman after raiding an apartment building.

Story continues below…

The man earlier failed to appear for hearings on Wednesday and Thursday telling his lawyer that he was suffering from “acute mental and physical exhaustion,” Blick.ch reported.

At the request of the court, officers went to the man’s apartment on Thursday but he refused to leave, shouting through the intercom for police to “get out,” the news site said, citing a witness.

He later appeared brandishing two samurai swords, according to media reports.

The man ran toward armed police in the garden outside his apartment building before returning to his apartment after he was pepper sprayed, 20Minuten said.

He later threatened to shoot officers, at which point law enforcement officials moved reporters away, put a security perimeter in place and police snipers took up positions.

The man subsequently remained in his apartment and reportedly poked his head out of a window, while a woman was seen in the same dwelling.

The standoff continued overnight with 50 officers surrounding the man's home, the Berner Zeitung reported online.

Meanwhile, the legal proceedings continued against the man in his absence.

The accused, a music school owner who reportedly dabbled in acupuncture, denies deliberately infecting 16 music students with blood from a pupil who was HIV positive between 2001 and 2005 as the prosecution alleges.

The man, who was released after being held in detention three times since 2010, is alleged to have acted under the pretence he was administering acupuncture.

In other cases he is accused of doping his alleged victims and infecting them by unknown means.

The prosecution, whose case rests mainly on the accounts of the victims, acknowledged that the motive for infecting the students was not clear.

The trial is expected to last three weeks.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swiss back new law to allow phone and email tapping
A security camera keeps watch over proceedings in Davos: Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP

Swiss voters approved a new surveillance law on Sunday, in a victory for the government.

Swiss politician argues against hijab in ID photos
The official guidelines should what ID photos allow. Photo: FedPol

Should the Islamic headscarf be banned in photographs for official Swiss documents?

Swiss driverless bus trial suspended after crash
Photo: PostBus

The pioneering self-driving bus was involved in a minor collision with a van.

Swiss supermarkets to charge for plastic bags
Photo: Migros

Migros and Coop will introduce charges for single-use plastic bags this year.

Swiss police arrest Algerian rebel wanted in France
Merouane Benahmed in 2015. Photo: Pascal Pavani/AFP

Merouane Benahmed has filed a claim for asylum in Switzerland.

In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: Royal Savoy

On the eve of its inauguration, The Local takes a peek inside the Royal Savoy in Lausanne.

Swiss-EU relations
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
The Swiss President and EU leaders cosy up at the opening of the Gotthard tunnel in June. Photo: Ruben Sprich/AFP

Is the Brexit camp taking note?

Valais man caught driving 100km/hr over speed limit
The speed was recorded by a police radar camera. Photo: Valais police

He could face a four-year prison sentence.

Swiss-EU relations
Row as Swiss MPs give in on EU migrant curbs
The debate over EU immigration became heated in parliament on Wednesday. File photo: Justus Blumer

Is parliament's proposal a necessary solution or the “death of direct democracy”?

Wawrinka continues winning streak in Russia
The Swiss champ during his US Open title match. Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP

Top seeded US Open champion Stan Wawrinka cruised comfortably into the last eight at the Saint Petersburg Open.

Sponsored Article
7 tips for learning Swiss French
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
Photo: AFP
Swiss ‘slave children’ to finally get compensation
Photo: Jan Geerk/Swiss-image.ch
Zurich named ‘greenest’ city on the planet
Photo: Swiss
Brawl over seats forces Swiss to abort flight
Photo: Daniel Stockhammer
Research shows typical Swiss chalets ‘not actually Swiss’
Photo: AFP
Switzerland to get nationwide disaster alert system
Photo: S3
Swiss space firm boss left badly injured in violent attack
Photo: ETH Zurich
ETH Zurich crowned best uni in continental Europe – again
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Report: Swiss citizenship rules leave some stateless
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Fatal crash: pilot told to fly below safe altitude
Photo: Peter Linke
Business & Money
Elderly Italian on benefits stashed €1m in Swiss bank
Photo: Stuart Richards
Court sides with chickens in dispute over noisy henhouse
Photo: SAC
Hiking: 7 incredible Swiss Alpine Club cabins
Photo: David Abercrombie
Swiss politician arrested over illegal entry of migrants
Photo: Coiffure X
Chewbacca stolen in ‘terrorist attack’ on Swiss hair salon
Photo: AFP
Foreigners in Switzerland surpass 2 million mark
Photo: AFP
Expert predicts major quake for Switzerland by 2040
Photo: The Local
Geneva runs out of permits for non-EU workers
Photo:C Carlstead
Geneva advises teachers on religion in school
jobs available