Europe

Czech bootleg alcohol gang given long jail sentences

  • 21 May 2014
  • From the section Europe
A barman walks past covered shelves containing bottles of hard liquor in a bar early on September 16, 2012 in Prague
The deaths in 2012 led the government to temporarily ban the sale of drinks containing more than 20% alcohol

Ten men convicted for producing tainted alcohol that killed more than 30 people in 2012 have been jailed by a court in the Czech Republic.

Two of the men, Tomas Krepela, 39, and Rudolf Fian, 43, were handed life sentences. The other eight were given terms of up to 21 years.

The verdict covers 38 deaths but more people have died since.

The poisonings shocked the nation and led to a temporary ban on the sale of hard alcohol in the Czech Republic.

As well as those who died after drinking the product, many more have been permanently blinded, the BBC's Rob Cameron reports from Prague.

The bootleg alcohol was diluted with the industrial chemical methanol, commonly used to make windscreen wiper fluid.

"The accused must have known they could seriously damage many people's health, or even kill them," judge Radomir Koudela said, according to AFP.

The deaths were described at the time as the Czech Republic's worst case of fatal alcohol poisoning in 30 years.