Retrial sought in Paris Bulgarian murder case

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Prosecution and defence lawyers sought a retrial on Monday of two Bulgarians accused of hacking to death a Bulgarian student in Paris, the Supreme Court of Appeal announced.

Georgy Zhelyazkov and Stoyan Stoichkov were sentenced in February to 19 and 17 year jail terms respectively for murdering law student Martin Borilski, 24, in his Paris apartment in 2000. Borilski was stabbed 93 times with a kitchen knife.

The pair were tried in Bulgaria because they escaped France.

The victim's mother, Ivanka Vacheva, appeared before the supreme appeal court to demand a retrial and life sentences for the suspects, who pleaded not guilty and have asked to be acquitted.

Zhelyazkov's lawyer, Ina Lulcheva, questioned evidence collected by French investigators as well as the quality of the autopsy. DNA samples taken from the victim's fingernails had matched those of the two suspects.

Lulcheva also criticised "unprecedented pressure" exerted over the court by the Bulgarian media and French diplomats.

The case is being closely followed by French authorities after the two were initially acquitted by a lower court last year, sparking sharp remarks from French Ambassador Etienne de Poncins.

France has said it will seek to try the pair if they are acquitted.

The court now has a month to decide whether to confirm the sentences or order a retrial.

© 2010 AFP

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