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Amnesiac refuses to return to Czech Republic

A man claiming amnesia after being found semi-conscious in Norway four months ago refused to return to Czech Republic on Thursday despite a couple from the country claiming he is their son.

Amnesiac refuses to return to Czech Republic
Photo: Politiet
"I can't move to the Czech Republic," the man, dubbed "John Smith" because he says he cannot remember his real name, told AFP. "I'm not going to put my life in great danger so that they can … find me there and kill me," he added, unable to explain who "they" were.
   
Found in the snow in the streets of Oslo in December, "John Smith" claims he cannot remember anything before waking up in hospital. He has since been temporarily housed by the Norwegian social services.
 
"Smith" believes he was "robbed", "sexually assaulted", "drugged", and then abandoned in Norway. He does not think he travelled there by choice.
   
Even though he says he does not know who could have exposed him to such actions, "Smith" fears that the same people will go after him again if he returns to the Czech Republic.
   
"They know my name and they know my address," he said.
   
He speaks excellent English with a Slavic accent and also understands Czech, Slovak, Polish and Russian.
   
His outlandish story has received extensive media coverage in Norway and abroad, and the Norwegian police have launched a probe to reveal his identity and determine if he has been a victim of criminal actions.
 
After four months of fruitless searching and only one day after publishing his picture in an appeal for public help, the Norwegian police revealed on Wednesday that a Czech couple had identified the man as their son.
   
"He is very likely to be a Czech national aged 36. He has been recognised by several members of the family," Czech police spokeswoman Eva Stulikova confirmed in a statement on Thursday.
   
"The man's disappearance was not reported in the Czech Republic. The circumstances of his presence in Norway remain unclear," she added. "Smith" first reacted cautiously to the news, but later accepted the account after learning that several sources pointed in the same direction.
   
"We are reasonably certain to have the right identity but we cannot obviously prove it to 100 percent until we have the confirmation from the DNA tests," said Sturla Henriksboe, from the violent and sexual crime department at the Oslo police.
   
Norwegian agents had not yet been able to contact the Czech couple by Thursday afternoon despite repeated attempts.
   
Henriksboe said that identifying the real name of "John Smith" was a "big step" in the investigation, but the alleged criminal actions that brought him to Oslo had still to be resolved.
   
"Smith" appeared overwhelmed by his uncertain future, and said he did not want to stay in Norway.
   
"They know that I'm here right now," he said. "I'm being moved around like on an ocean … You are taken by the current and it's moving you without you moving yourself. It's taking you somewhere. I feel like that: I'm being taken somewhere, I don't know where and there's nothing I can do about it."

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CZECH

Memory loss mystery man identified as Czech

A couple in the Czech Republic have contacted Interpol saying 'John Smith', the man found in Oslo in December apparently suffering total amnesia, is their son.

Memory loss mystery man identified as Czech
'John Smith'. Photo: Oslo Police
"We have have received information through Interpol identifying the man as a Czech citizen," Øyvind Torgersen told VG newspaper. 
 
'John Smith' speaks fluent Czech and excellent English, as well as Polish, Slovak and Russian, and was found unconscious in a snowdrift in an industrial area of Oslo on December 15th. 
 
When he awoke from a two-day coma, he had lost all memory of his identity and nationality. 
 
On Wednesday afternoon, the man expressed his happiness at being identified. 
 
"I had feared it would take a long time to figure out who I was, but it has taken only two days. It's absolutely fantastic," he told VG newspaper. 
 
The tall, young amnesiac was found helpless in the snow near a carwash. How he got there, and from where, "Smith" claims to have no idea.
 
"What apparently has happened is that I was robbed, I was for sure sexually assaulted, and then I was thrown onto a street in Oslo," he told AFP on Wednesday.
 
"What might have happened is that they took advantage of the fact that Europe has open borders — this amazing European invention — and that they basically used Oslo as a garbage place to dump me," he said, without knowing who "they" are.
 
Police refused to comment on the more personal aspects of his testimony, but the violent and sexual crime unit has been put in charge of the investigation.
 
"Maybe I was too trustful. Maybe I let some people too close to me and they had some fun with me," said "Smith".
 
Aged about 20, "John Smith" was in a very weak condition and poorly dressed for the severe Norwegian winter when discovered in December.
   
"I was already blue in face," he said. "If nobody saw me, I would definitely have been dead by the morning, most probably much, much sooner."
 
"I had on my wrists very big, very bloody traces of plastic strips that they use to tie up cables … It was so tight that even now you can still see spots on my wrists," he said.
 
Police initially turned to international police organization Interpol and more than a dozen nations to compare fingerprints and DNA with their databases to unravel the mystery, but in vain.
 
No closer to a solution, law enforcers took the extra step on Tuesday of releasing the man's photo to the public, in the hope of finding new clues.
 
While 'John Smith' remembers nothing about himself, he is sure of one thing: he is a stranger in Norway.
 
"I don't think I've ever been here before in this country," he said.
 
"I don't think I came to this country out of my own free will because I'm used to a very different weather, a much warmer weather. The weather here is basically hurting me."

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