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Bolivian sentenced to 30 years for murder of French tourists

Jaime Martinez (L) after being found guilty of the murder of Jérémie Bellanger and Fannie Blancho
Jaime Martinez (L) after being found guilty of the murder of Jérémie Bellanger and Fannie Blancho Reuters.Stringer

A 31-year-old Bolivian man has been sentenced to 30 years in jail without parole for the murder of two French tourists in 2010. Jaime Martinez protested his innocence to the media shortly before the verdict was passed on Thursday.

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Martinez was found guilty of the murder of Jérémie Bellanger, 25, and his partner, Fannie Blancho, 23, in the village of Guayaramerin in Andes mountains in the far north of the country in August 2010.

Three people, including his father, a rich farmer, who were accused of being his accomplices were acquitted.

The couple's parents - Cécile Blanloeil and Patrick Bellanger and Jean-Paul and Mariline Blancho - attended the trial and Mariline Blancho sobbed as Judge Willma Blass announced the verdict.

Bellager's and Blancho's bodies have never been found but they are assumed to have been killed.

Bellanger and Blancho were seen with Martinez in a local night club, apparently drinking and taking drugs, before leaving to go to his home with him.

According to witnesses, Bellanger went out to buy beer and heard cries when he returned.

Martinez then shot him, according to police, and more cries and another shot was heard shortly afterwards.

The couple's son, who was three at the time, had been left with a woman living near their hotel and now lives with his grandparents.

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