Belgian teen sentenced to life for racist killings

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BRUSSELS, Oct 11 (Reuters) A Belgian teenager who targeted foreigners on a shooting rampage last year was jailed for life today after he became the first person in Belgium to be convicted on a new charge of racially motivated murder.

Hans Van Themsche, 19, was charged with killing a 2-year-old white girl and her Malian nanny and attempting to kill a Turkish woman in Antwerp in May 2006 before a policeman shot him.

A jury found him guilty on all counts late yesterday and said he had been motivated by racism.

The murders shocked Belgium as Van Themsche admitted wanting to kill foreigners and because members of his family belonged to the far-right Vlaams Belang party, whose stronghold is the port city of Antwerp.

Those found guilty of murder face a sentence of three years to life and for attempted murder of three to 30 years. A racist motive increases the minimum in each case to five years.


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