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French couple’s murderer gets 30 years jail in Bolivia

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A Bolivian court sentenced a man to 30 years in jail without the possibility of parole Thursday for the murders of a young French couple whose bodies were never found.

Jaime Martinez, the son of a wealthy dairy farmer was convicted of being the ringleader of a four-man group that killed the couple between August 28-29 in 2010, after sexually assaulting the woman.

Tourists Jeremie Bellanger, 25, and Fannie Blancho, 23, went missing while traveling in the village of Guayaramerin in northern Bolivia.

Martinez, 31, has been held in a Bolivian jail but lawyers for the victims' families want him transferred to a maximum security prison near the capital La Paz.

Bellanger and Blancho's parents were present, as they have been throughout the trial, when the sentence was read out in court.

The other three defendants, Roberto Forero Molina, Rosmery Roca Suarez and Azar Martinez -- the father of Jaime Martinez -- were acquitted by the court in the northern city of Trinidad.

The first to be tried for the crimes, the younger Martinez has steadfastly maintained his innocence.

"I have never committed the crimes I am accused of," he told Bolivian media during a break in the proceedings, adding that the accusations against him "have destroyed my life and the lives of my family members."

A Bolivian court sentenced a man to 30 years in jail without the possibility of parole Thursday for the murders of a young French couple whose bodies were never found.

Jaime Martinez, the son of a wealthy dairy farmer was convicted of being the ringleader of a four-man group that killed the couple between August 28-29 in 2010, after sexually assaulting the woman.

Tourists Jeremie Bellanger, 25, and Fannie Blancho, 23, went missing while traveling in the village of Guayaramerin in northern Bolivia.

Martinez, 31, has been held in a Bolivian jail but lawyers for the victims’ families want him transferred to a maximum security prison near the capital La Paz.

Bellanger and Blancho’s parents were present, as they have been throughout the trial, when the sentence was read out in court.

The other three defendants, Roberto Forero Molina, Rosmery Roca Suarez and Azar Martinez — the father of Jaime Martinez — were acquitted by the court in the northern city of Trinidad.

The first to be tried for the crimes, the younger Martinez has steadfastly maintained his innocence.

“I have never committed the crimes I am accused of,” he told Bolivian media during a break in the proceedings, adding that the accusations against him “have destroyed my life and the lives of my family members.”

AFP
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