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Swiss man kidnapped in Zurich ‘is vaccine commission chief’

A Swiss man briefly abducted last month by a German, before his kidnapper was shot dead by police near Zurich, is the head of Switzerland's federal vaccination commission, local media reported Saturday. 

Swiss man kidnapped in Zurich 'is vaccine commission chief'
A file photo of a police car in Zurich. Photo: Wikipedia Commons

The information gives a completely different twist on the case. 

The 38-year-old German had been wanted since March 31 by the authorities after abducting a man in the canton of Zurich. 

The police did not communicate about the case until the German was shot dead this week, and did not give the identity of the abductee. 

But according to several Swiss media outlets, including the Tagesanzeiger daily and the Heidi.news website, the victim of the abduction is the head of the Federal Commission for Vaccinations (CFV). 

The motive for the abduction remains unclear. 

According to the Swiss online news site Watson, the German abductor had been in close contact with conspiracy theorists. 

He was killed on Wednesday night when police tried to arrest him. 

Before being shot and killed he pulled out a gun and killed a 28-year-old woman, believed to be his girlfriend, according to police. 

According to the Swiss news agency ATS, a 34-year-old Swiss man was arrested on Thursday and is believed to be linked to the abduction. 

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CRIME

Swiss police: French family leapt off hotel balcony ‘one by one’

A French family gripped by conspiracy theories jumped one by one from their seventh-floor apartment in the Swiss town of Montreux in a "collective suicide", police investigating the mystery said on Tuesday.

Swiss police: French family leapt off hotel balcony 'one by one'

Only a 15-year-old boy survived the tragedy last Thursday near the casino in the plush town on Lake Geneva.

He is in a coma in a stable condition in hospital.

The Vaud regional police announced Tuesday that their findings “make it possible to rule out the intervention of a third party and suggest that all the victims jumped from the balcony one after the other”.

READ MORE: Family of four die after plunging from Swiss balcony

Police and prosecutors are working on the theory of “collective suicide”.

A man aged 40, his 41-year-old wife, her twin sister, the couple’s eight-year-old daughter and their boy plunged more than 20 metres from the apartment, where they all lived “withdrawn from society”, according to police. 

Timeline of events

Investigators said two officers knocked on the apartment door at 6:15 am, wanting to speak with the father about the home-schooling arrangements for his son.

A voice asked who was at the door, but then said nothing further. Unable to enter, the officers left. Shortly before 7:00 am, all five jumped from the balcony within the space of five minutes.

Police detected no trace of a struggle, seemingly confirming that they jumped of their own accord.

A step-ladder was found on the balcony.

“Before or during the events, no witnesses, including the two police officers present on the spot from 6:15 am and the passers-by at the foot of the building, heard the slightest noise or cry coming from the apartment or the balcony,” police said.

“Technical investigations show no warning signs of such an act,” they added, noting however that “since the start of the pandemic, the family was very interested in conspiracy and survivalist theories”.

The family lived in virtual self-sufficiency having amassed a well-organised stockpile of various food, taking up much of their living space but enabling them to see out a major crisis.

Only the mother’s twin sister worked outside the home, while neither the mother nor the eight-year-old girl, who did not attend school, were registered with the local authorities.

“All these elements suggest… fear of the authorities interfering in their lives,” the police statement said. 

EXPLAINED: What are the rules for homeschooling children in Switzerland?

Granddaughters of Algerian writer

France’s Journal du Dimanche newspaper said the father, Eric David, grew up in a wealthy part of Marseille and attended the Ecole Polytechnique, one of the most prestigious schools in the country.

The twin sisters, Nasrine and Narjisse Feraoun, grew up in a family of five children who were all educated at the elite Lycee Henri-IV in Paris, the weekly said.

The mother was a dentist and her sister an ophthalmologist.

The newspaper also said the twins were granddaughters of Algerian novelist Mouloud Feraoun.

A close friend of the French philosopher Albert Camus, Feraoun was assassinated in Algiers in 1962 by a far-right French pro-colonial group.

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