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Swiss police: Woman may have faked attack

The Brazilian woman who claimed to lose her unborn twins in a Swiss skinhead attack was not pregnant and probably carved the initials of a right-wing party into her own skin, investigators said Friday.
Brazil Switzerland Foreigner Attacked
Photographs of the apparently carved-up midsection of Paula Oliveira were provided to a Brazilian newspaper by the woman's family. Investigators say Oliveira probably faked the assault and lied to police about it.AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

The Brazilian woman who claimed to lose her unborn twins in a Swiss skinhead attack was not pregnant and probably carved the initials of Switzerland's main right-wing party into her own skin, investigators said Friday.

Police said in a statement that 26-year-old Paula Oliveira was not three months pregnant Monday, when she claimed an attack by three skinheads, one with a Nazi symbol tattooed on the back of his head, caused her to have a miscarriage.

Zurich University forensic medicine chief Walter Baer said "any experienced forensic doctor would not hesitate to assume that this was a case of self-infliction."

All of the wounds were reachable by hand, and none were severe, he said. Areas particularly sensitive for women — breasts, navel and outer genitals — were not injured, he said.

He added, however, that investigations were still ongoing.

Police said Oliveira claimed she was attacked outside a Zurich train station, and that the assailants cut her stomach and legs with the initials of Switzerland's main right-wing party.

Pictures of her scarred body have appeared in media and Brazil's Foreign Ministry had raised the idea that it was an anti-foreigner attack.

But some Swiss news organizations and politicians had suggested the woman's story might have been made up, as has happened in other European countries.

Previous cases
Last year, an 18-year-old woman in Germany was convicted of faking a neo-Nazi attack by carving a swastika into her skin. In 2004, a young French woman admitted to lying about having been robbed on a train by a knife-wielding gang that mistook her for a Jew and scrawled swastikas on her body — but only after the alleged attack was condemned by then-President Jacques Chirac.

"We have to take this case seriously, but be careful in case it is self-created," Yvan Perrin, a police inspector and People's Party politician, told the daily Le Matin. "The victim's version is still not confirmed as reality."

The alleged details had shocked the Swiss public and prompted condemnation from Brazil's president.

"Brazil is an example of how to live with foreigners," President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said. "I think we can't accept and we can't stay quiet facing this remarkable violence against a Brazilian woman abroad."

The woman's father has blamed police for dragging their feet on a potentially embarrassing investigation and criticized those who suggested her daughter had lied.

"They're trying to transform the victim into a criminal. This is the tactic of a Nazi militia," Paulo Oliveira told the O Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper.

Fiance: Woman still terrified
Oliveira's fiance, investment consultant Marco Trepp, claimed she was still terrified by the attack, which he said occurred only days after she accepted his marriage proposal.

"She's in a post-traumatic phase, scared of everything, especially to walk on the street," Trepp told Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper. "Last night, she had lots of nightmares. She couldn't sleep well. She woke up sweating, screaming."

Photographs of the smiling woman have been splashed across newspapers next to those of a bare stomach and legs with the initials SVP — presumably for "Schweizerische Volkspartei" (Swiss People's Party) — clearly visible in several places.

The Swiss People's Party has taken a hardline stance against immigrants and pressed to toughen asylum laws and make it easier to expel foreign nationals. However, the party is part of Switzerland's broad coalition government and has never had links to neo-Nazism.

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