Prosecutors have announced that they will be seeking murder charges against submarine owner Peter Madsen, after a torso found floating in Copenhagen was identified as journalist Kim Wall’s. Wall was last seen conducting an interview with Madsen on his submarine.
The BBC reports that Madsen will be appearing in court in early September, where he will be facing the additional charge. The Nautilus sunk shortly after Madsen’s meeting with Wall, and investigators believe it was done deliberately by the submarine’s owner in an attempt to disguise evidence of Wall’s death. He initially told police that he had left her at the harbor after their interview, then later changed his story to say that she died in an accident on board and he “buried her at sea.”
The original charge of negligent manslaughter has been deemed insufficient. Accompany the murder charge will be a charge of “indecent handling of a corpse,” according to the Independent, as her arms, legs and head seem to have been purposefully removed. Divers are still searching for her missing clothes.
In a post for the Guardian, journalist Sruthi Gottipati and friend of Wall’s, writes of the dangers female reporters frequently face, particularly in markets that demand much of freelance writers:
As news organizations grapple with shrinking budgets, they increasingly rely on freelancers, who cost less and are often willing to take on the attendant risks reporting in places they wouldn’t send their staff to. Even against this backdrop, the competition is fierce to place stories and female freelancers work hard to ensure their gender isn’t calculated as a liability. So they clam up about the dangers they face and sometimes report before being commissioned to do so.
“After traveling and reporting in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, it was in her native Scandinavia, a supposed bastion of gender parity, in which Kim has disappeared,” Gottipati continues. “It’s a chilling reminder that women’s safety can’t be shrugged off as a problem specific to developing countries, as if the west is immune to misogyny.”