Click photo to enlarge
FILE - In this Dec.20, 2012 file photo, Andre Bamberski, the father of Kalinka, arrives at the Creteil courthouse on the last day of Krombach's appeal, outside Paris. A French court has convicted the 76-year-old man of ordering a cross-border kidnapping to avenge his daughter's death. The conviction Wednesday June 18, 2014 culminates Bamberski's decades-long mission for justice after his 15-year-old daughter Kalinka died in 1982. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)

PARIS (AP) — 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.

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.