(PDM) - The Prague City Court today found Ukrainian national Oleh Opryya guilty of the murder of two prostitutes and gave him the maximum sentence of 18 years in prison.

However, the defendant was not present in court since he has been in hiding since September 2003.

The case has not been closed since Opryya's lawyer appealed the sentence on the spot and the matter will be heard by the Prague High Court.

According to the charges, Opryya, 27, strangled two women prostitutes to death within 24 hours in September 2003.

He killed them for money and robbed them of their cell telephones, cameras and jewels after their death. He gave some of the things that he stole from their flats to his friends.

"In view of the fact that two murders were committed within several dozen hours and robbery was the clear motive it was appropriate to deliver an exceptional punishment," chairman of the court panel Petr Novak said.


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