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Climbing champion feared victim of Kabul stoning

Afghan hospital workers carry one of the bodies Keystone

A former Swiss climbing champion and photographer is believed to be one of two foreigners stoned to death in the Afghan capital, Kabul, at the weekend.

This content was published on May 11, 2004 - 17:45

Elie Chevieux’s father confirmed that police in Geneva had contacted him as part of the inquiry into the killings.

Police announced on Tuesday that a Swiss passport found with the two men, who were beaten to death in a Kabul park, belonged to the former world-class indoor climber.

A spokesman said the passport was in the name of Elie Chevieux from Geneva, confirming reports in the local media.

The other victim is believed to be Jürg Bigler, 28, a former journalist from canton Graubünden in eastern Switzerland.

No formal identification

The Swiss foreign ministry said no formal identification had been made, though both men are believed to be Swiss nationals.

Chevieux's father, Georges, said his son had left Geneva in October on a photography trip that had already taken him to Russia, Japan, India and Nepal.

“He probably died for taking one photo too many,” Chevieux told the daily “Le Matin”.

Chevieux was second in the world indoor climbing championships in 1995 and was Swiss champion in 1996 and 1997.

Examination

Officials in Kabul said a Swiss doctor was examining the bodies before they are repatriated to Switzerland.

A diplomat from the Swiss embassy in neighbouring Pakistan has travelled to Kabul to assist with the investigation. The Federal Police Office in the Swiss capital, Bern, is also in contact with the Afghan authorities.

Investigators said the men, who were wearing Afghan dress, had been beaten over the head with stones or bricks. The Kabul authorities initially suggested that their deaths might have been drug-related.

Ruedi Hager, the head of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in Kabul, said the men had registered as tourists and crossed into Afghanistan at the end of last month.

Hager added that he did not believe their deaths were connected to the drug trade.

The agency reiterated a warning to tourists not to travel to Afghanistan as security has deteriorated in the run-up to elections which are expected to take place in September.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

A Swiss climbing champion, Elie Chevieux, may be one of the two foreigners stoned to death in the Afghan capital, Kabul, at the weekend.

A Swiss doctor in Kabul is examining the bodies prior to their repatriation.

There are currently 37 Swiss nationals in Afghanistan. Most of them work for non-governmental or international aid organisations.

Five members of the Swiss army, including a demining expert, work there.

The foreign ministry has warned tourists not to travel to Afghanistan.

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