Serbia - France

Serbian hooligans convicted of murder of French football fan

AFP/Pierre Andrieu

Twelve Serbs were convicted of first degree murder Tuesday for the killing of a French football fan in 2009 and two others were found guilty of violent behaviour, receiving sentences ranging from four to 35 years in prison. Brice Taton was brutally beaten in Belgrade ahead of a football match in September 2009, and died in hospital days later.

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The court handed down sentences to 14 men who attacked Taton ahead of a Europa League match between Partizan Belgrade and Toulouse on 17 September 2009.

The two main suspects, Djordje Prelic and Dejan Puzigac, are at large. They were tried in absentia and received the longest sentences - 35 and 32 years in prison, respectively.

Ivan Grkovic and Ljubomir Markovic received 30-year prison terms, and the two men convicted of violent behaviour, Dejan Stankovic and Stepa Petrovic, were sentenced to four and five years of prison.

The men, all Partizan Belgrade fans, accosted Taton in a central Belgrade café and severely beat him and the people he was with baseball bats.

Taton died in hospital in Belgrade 12 days later of injuries to the head.

During the ten-month trial, obviously scared witness – including several French nationals and two in protective custody - often changed their testimony, and no one shed light on who beat Taton.

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