The “radical Islam” trial in the Bulgarian town of Pazardzhik that began in September 2012 ended on March 19 2014 with one of the 13 accused sentenced to jail, suspended sentences for two others, while the other 10 were fined.
The Regional Court in Pazardzhik found all 13 – 12 men and a woman – guilty of promoting an anti-democratic ideology, a crime under Bulgaria’s Penal Code.
Imam Ahmed Musa Ahmed was sentenced to a year in jail for preaching anti-democratic ideology and fined 3000 leva for distributing anti-democratic material. With a previous suspended sentence now coming into effect because of the March 2014 conviction, he faces four years in jail and a total 5000 leva fine.
The Regional Mufti of Pazardzhik, Abdullah Salih, was fined 3000 leva and given 10 months in jail, suspended for three years. Sarnitsa Said Mutlu was handed a similar sentence.
The other 10 were also found guilty of membership of an unregistered organisation aimed at committing crimes. Of the 10, Ali Hoxha was fined 3000 leva.
The other nine – Nedzhmi Dubov, Hayri Sherifov, Bayram Ushef, Ahmed Abdurahmanov, Izzet Dzhalev, Mohamed Kamber, Yusuf Gorelski, Nayme Gorelska and Ali Hayredin – were each fined 2000 leva.
Several residents of the town came to the court for the sentencing, and when the verdict was announced, some cried while others called the punishment unfair.
The 13 were arrested and charged following their participation in the Al Waqf Al Islam organisation.
The charge sheet against them said that they had promoted an anti-democratic ideology and a theocracy, and wanted to impose on Bulgaria the ideology of Salafism and Sharia law. This made them a threat to national security, the indictment said.