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Page last updated at 18:30 GMT, Tuesday, 23 September 2008 19:30 UK

Man jailed for Belgian MP3 death

MP3 player as evidence in court
An MP3 player that was used in evidence in the Brussels court

A Polish man has been sentenced to 20 years in jail over the death of a Belgian teenager whose stabbing in 2006 sparked protests by tens of thousands.

Joe Van Holsbeeck, 17, was stabbed a number of times in the chest when he refused to hand over his MP3 player at Brussels central station in April 2006.

A Brussels court found Adam Giza guilty of "violent theft leading to death".

The victim's mother described the failure to convict Giza of murder as "a stab in the back, a betrayal".

CCTV images

Giza, who was 17 at the time of the killing, was extradited from Poland on condition he serve any sentence in his homeland.

A photo of Joe Van Holsbeeck in a tribute at his school
Joe Van Holsbeeck was stabbed a number of times in the chest

Francoise De Roy, Joe Van Holsbeeck's mother, condemned the verdict at the Brussels assize court.

"If he had stabbed him once superficially, in the legs for example, there might be something to debate," she told Agence France-Presse news agency.

"But there were several stab wounds, and one in the heart to finish him off."

The father, Guy Van Holsbeeck, said: "The 12 members of the jury have done their work. I must accept it, although it is not easy."

The killing shook Belgium and about 80,000 people took part in an anti-violence rally.

Police used CCTV images to track down the attackers.

Giza's father, Marek, said he was happy his son had not been branded a murderer.

Giza's accomplice, who was named only as Mariusz O, was given three and a half years in a youth institution for his involvement.


SEE ALSO
Poland to extradite MP3 suspect
31 May 06 |  Europe
Belgium MP3 murder suspect held
25 Apr 06 |  Europe
Country profile: Belgium
26 Mar 06 |  Country profiles


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