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Life sentence for handballer Marian Cozma’s killers

The decision is still not final and can be appealed against.

Two of the men who killed the Romanian handballer Marian Cozma, Sandor Raffael and Gyozo Nemeth, got life sentences, while a third defendant, Ivan Sztojka, was sentenced to 20 years in prison, the Hungarian press informs, quoted by HotNews.

The sentence was pronounced by the Veszprem Court, the first court judging the case, and can be appealed against. The two men sentenced to life imprisonment cannot petition for parole before serving 30 years.

According to Index.hu, Sandor stated, on Wednesday, in court, that he regretted his deed. “The greatest sin a man can commit is take the life of another human being,” Sandor stated. Before the magistrates, however, he claimed he “was afraid for his own life, he defended himself and had no intention to kill anyone,” Index.hu reports.

On February 8, 2009 Cozma was killed, by stabbing, during an altercation which broke out in the Patriota Club in Veszprem. The Romanian’s fellow-players at MTK Veszprem, Zarko Sesum and Ivan Pesic, were also involved in the incident, but Cozma was the only one killed. Sandor begged the forgiveness of Cozma’s family, adding that he was the only one to blame for Cozma’s stabbing and that he had had nothing to do with the injuring of the other two handball players, Sesum and Pesic. Other two defendants in this case, Pal Gabor and Bihari Csaba, received five and, respectively, four years’ prison sentences, for attempted murder.

The Romanian handballer’s father, Petre Cozma, stated, on Thursday, for Mediafax, that no sentence could make up for his son’s death and voiced his hope that the decision of the Veszprem Court, which sentenced two of the attackers to life imprisonment, would remain final.

In turn, Cristian Gatu, the president of the handball federation, welcomed the Hungarian court’s decision. “It is a good thing that the Hungarian justice system is operating. What satisfaction can his parents derive from this, when nothing can bring Marian back? It is good, however, that they received this sentence. It’s better than nothing. I am a merciful man, but death should be repaid by death,” Gatu stated, for ‘Evenimentul Zilei’.

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