Prague - A Prague court today sentenced to life imprisonment two members of a Czech seven-member gang, including its head Michael Svab, for abducting rich Czechs abroad and murdering two of them.
Pražský městský soud rozhodoval 18. července v kauze údajné organizované skupiny recidivisty Michaela Švába (na snímku), která podle obžaloby zavraždila v zahraničí dva české podnikatele. Třem mužům navrhuje státní zástupce doživotí. Čelí obvinění také z vydírání, zbavení osobní svobody či loupeže. ČTK ČTK
The other man sentenced to life is Libor Skopalik.
Petr Klement, who allegedly committed the murders, was sentenced to 30 years in jail and Daniel Dimitrov, a cooperating suspect, to 20 years.
The remaining three gangsters received prison sentences from nine to ten years.
The verdict has not taken effect.
The court ordered that the accused pay 240,000 crowns in compensation to each of the murder victims' five relatives.
They should also pay 1.9 million dollars to the businessman who bought himself out of his abduction to Spain in 2011, which saved his life.
Svab who organised the gang's activities, confessed to having chosen rich businessmen and luring them abroad in order to gain their money.
However, he dismissed being guilty of the murders, as did Klement, who asserted that it was Dimitrov who murdered the victims.
Skopalik allegedly worked as Svab's closest aide and ensured the detention of the businessmen abroad.
Apart from Svab and Skopalik, the state attorney also proposed that life sentence be also imposed on Klement, but the court did not meet his request in this respect.
One of the kidnapped businessmen allegedly died in a desert in Dubai in late 2012, suffocated by a plastic film and struck into his head by a stone. His body has not been uncovered yet.
The gang shot the other businessman dead March 2013, after transporting him to Italy from Nice, France.
At the same time, the gang lured another businessman to Nice, but his life was saved probably because he arrived there with his family.
Svab previously told the court that he planned some other blackmails. He said he wanted money to buy cocaine and sell it in Australia.
The court ruled that Svab had also focused on a Czech successful poker player and tried to make him come to a fictitious tournament in Cannes. However, the plan failed.
The court said Skopalik's brother Petr had been also involved in the crime, for which he was given a ten-year prison sentence, and another two persons who were sentenced to nine years in prison each.
A review of life sentences that Czech courts imposed in the past three years:
June 7, 2011 - The Prague City Court imposes a life sentence on repeat offender Lubos Miko who shot a 70-year-old taxi driver dead on the outskirts of Prague in 2009 and attempted to kill two women a few days later. The High Court and the Supreme Court upheld the verdict in 2012.
August 10, 2011 - The Regional Court in Plzen, west Bohemia, sentenced to life Ales Kalej for murdering a junk shop owner in Domazlice in November 2010. Kalej, who was under the influence of narcotics, knocked the man to the ground and trampled on his head. In October 2011, the High Court mitigated Kalej's sentence to 30 years in prison. The verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court.
February 16, 2012 - The Regional Court in Plzen, west Bohemia, sentenced to life Miroslav Szettey for bayoneting to death a woman, 57, with whom he lived. Before, he served 11 years in prison for having murdered a man with whom he stayed.
June 20, 2012 - The Regional Court in Hradec Kralove, East Bohemia, sentenced to life repeat criminal Jiri Mliko for having murdered an elderly woman and further crimes. He committed the murder while he was released from a mental asylum in February 2012. The High Court upheld the verdict in August 2012.
May 11, 2012 - The Regional Court in Hradec Kralove, East Bohemia, sentenced to life Romana Z. for having murdered her four children in September 2011. The verdict was upheld by the Prague High Court and later by the Supreme Court.
September 18, 2012 - The High Court in Prague changed the original 30-year sentence for triple murder to a life sentence to Michael Galez. In August 2011, Galez killed three people from the family of the new partner of his former girl-friend. The life sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court in March 2013.
September 19, 2012 - The Regional Court in Prague sentenced to life repeat criminal Pavel Poupa for having killed a homeless man in Nymburk, Central Bohemia in autumn 2010. Poupa confessed to the crime in a letter he sent to detectives from the prison where he was serving an 18-year sentence over another murder.
November 1, 2012 - The Regional Court in Hradec Kralove, East Bohemia, sentenced to life Michal Semansky who killed three elderly persons between September 2009 and January 2012. The life sentence was upheld by the High Court in Prague last January.
November 30, 2012 - The Regional Court in Hradec Kralove, East Bohemia, sentenced to life Tomas Vit for brutal murder of two elderly persons in February 2012. Vit appealed to the High Court in Prague, but withdrew the proposal before it was dealt with.
September 12, 2013 - The Prague City Court sentenced to life Zbynek Prokop, 25, for having brutally murdered a young couple in Prague. The High Court in Prague mitigated the punishment to 30 years in prison. Prokop also has to pay over two million crowns to the family.
March 10, 2014 - The Regional Court in Ostrava, North Moravia, sentenced to life Lumir Moric, 42, for brutal murder of a marital couple from Bohumin. Another two assisting offenders were sentenced to 30 and 27 years in prison. They shot dead the man, 67, and his wife, 58, in a garage in Slezska Ostrava, north Moravia, last February. The verdict was upheld by the High Court in Olomouc in June.
May 21, 2014 - The Regional Court in Zlin, South Moravia, imposed life sentences on Tomas Krepela and Rudolf Fian for mixing lethal tainted spirits that killed 50 people in the Czech Republic in late 2012 and early 2013. Another eight defendants were given long prison sentences. The verdict has not taken effect.
July 18, 2014 - The Prague City Court sentenced to life Michael Svab and Libor Skopalik. The verdict has not come into force. The ruling says Svab's gang kidnapped rich Czechs abroad and killed two of them. The ruling gave a 30-year prison sentence to Petr Klement who allegedly committed the murders and a 20-year prison sentence to Daniel Dimitrov, another defendant. The rest of the gang were given nine to ten-year prison sentences.