Bulgaria upholds sentences in Paris student murder case

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Bulgaria's Supreme Court of Appeal upheld Monday the jail sentences of 17 and 19 years respectively for two Bulgarians who stabbed to death a compatriot student in Paris in 2000.

In a definitive ruling that can no longer be appealed, the court upheld a 19-year jail sentence for Georgy Zhelyazkov, 30, and a 17-year term for Stoyan Stoichkov, 29.

The two had previously been convicted for the murder of 24-year-old law student Martin Borilski, who was stabbed 93 times with a knife in his Paris apartment in 2000.

Both men had pleaded not guilty at previous hearings, although DNA samples taken from the victim's fingernails matched their own.

Monday's ruling will bring to a close a lengthy legal battle, which first saw the two men acquitted in 2008, but subsequently found guilty when the case was re-opened in 2009.

Their case was sent to the supreme court of appeal earlier this year after the two defendants called for a re-trial, while the victim's mother demanded life sentences for the two.

The case was closely followed by French authorities, who even pledged to put the two men on trial in France had they been cleared again in Bulgaria.

© 2010 AFP

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