A French court convicted a 76-year-old man Wednesday of ordering a cross-border kidnapping as part of a decades-long mission to avenge his daughter's death but suspended his one-year prison sentence.

Share story

A French court convicted a 76-year-old man Wednesday of ordering a cross-border kidnapping as part of a decades-long mission to avenge his daughter’s death but suspended his one-year prison sentence.

The verdict Wednesday in the eastern French city of Mulhouse culminates a protracted and emotional legal saga that began after 15-year-old Kalinka died in Germany in 1982.

Kalinka’s father, Andre Bamberski, suspected her stepfather, Dieter Krombach, of giving the girl a dangerous injection so he could rape her — an injection that apparently caused her death.

A French court convicted Krombach in absentia, but a German court said evidence was insufficient to prove his guilt and would not extradite him.

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

So in 2009, Bamberski took justice into his own hands and hired two men to forcibly bring Krombach to France to face prosecution. Krombach was tied up and dumped near a French courthouse and subsequently re-convicted of “intentional violence that led to unintentional death.” Now 79, he is serving a 15-year sentence in a French prison.

On Wednesday, the court in Mulhouse convicted Bamberski of organizing a kidnapping and handed him a one-year suspended prison sentence, according to magistrate Marie-Helene Calvano in Mulhouse. Two other men were convicted of carrying out the kidnapping, each sentenced to a year in prison.

Bamberski had faced up to 10 years in prison in the case, which raised questions about vigilante-style justice and about cross-border prosecution in the 28-nation European Union.

Krombach had been suspended from practicing medicine after a 1997 conviction for drugging and raping a 16-year-old girl in his office. He pleaded guilty.

Custom-curated news highlights, delivered weekday mornings.