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Brazilian woman in Switzerland miscarries after assault

News reports say three skinheads attacked her in Zurich, where she worked as a lawyer, carving the initials of a right-wing party on her stomach and causing her to miscarry twins.

February 13, 2009|Associated Press

GENEVA — Zurich police on Thursday were investigating an assault on a pregnant Brazilian woman that caused her to miscarry twins and left her scarred with the initials of Switzerland's main right-wing party.

Brazil's Foreign Ministry and Brazilian media reported that three skinheads, one with a Nazi symbol tattooed on his forehead, attacked the woman outside a train station in Zurich as she was speaking Portuguese on a cellphone.

Details shocked people in both countries.

"What they did to my daughter is like a horror movie," the woman's father, lawyer Paulo Oliveira, told Brazil's Globo TV. He said she was cut about 100 times in an attack that lasted 10 minutes.

Pictures of the smiling, pregnant woman were splashed across Brazilian newspapers Thursday next to those of a bare stomach and legs with the initials SVP -- presumably for "Schweizerische Volkspartei" or Swiss People's Party -- visible in several places.

She was identified by family members as 26-year-old Paula Oliveira, a lawyer working for European shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk Group.

Brazil's Foreign Ministry expressed "great concern" about the Monday attack in a hastily arranged meeting Thursday in Brasilia with a Swiss diplomat.

"There is a very strong appearance of xenophobia," Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said.

The Swiss People's Party, which is part of the broad coalition government, has taken a hard line against immigrants but has never had links to neo-Nazism.

"This is a country of law, where every human being deserves respect," said Oskar Freysinger, a lawmaker in the party. "If that really was someone from our party, . . . that person would be immediately kicked out."

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