Danish brothers who murdered biracial man have sentences increased

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By Euronews  with AP
Flowers and tributes laid in Ronne on the Danish island of Bornholm.
Flowers and tributes laid in Ronne on the Danish island of Bornholm.   -  Copyright  PELLE RINK / RITZAU SCANPIX / AFP

Two Danish brothers who killed a biracial man in June have had their prison sentences increased.

Mads and Magnus Moeller, aged 23 and 26, were found guilty of murdering Phillip Mbuji Johansen in June 2020 on the island of Bornholm.

They were each initially sentenced to 14 years in prison but a Danish appeals court increased the term on Thursday to 15 years each.

But the court added there was insufficient evidence that there was a racist motive behind the brother's actions.

The defendants had denied the allegations of racism, and judges ruled the murder was instead a personal relationship that went wrong.

The case has provoked concerns in Denmark over racism, shortly after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, United States.

The body of 28-year-old Johansen was found in a forest on the Baltic Sea island, after he had spent the evening drinking with the two suspects. He died hours later.

The two suspects were accused of kicking, stabbing, and beating the victim to death using a wooden pole, a bottle, and a knife.

One of the brothers also pressed a knee onto the victim's neck during the attack, the court heard.

Johansen -- who had Danish and Tanzanian roots -- was tortured for at least 20 minutes, according to a medical examiner.

The defendants admitted to attacking Johansen, claiming he had allegedly raped their mother, but denied having intended to kill him.

Earlier this month, the alleged rape was reported to Danish police.