Bulgaria to prosecute several arrested after raid against ‘radical Islam’

The Regional Prosecutor’s office in the Bulgarian town of Pazardzhik has laid criminal charges against Ahmed Musa Ahmed of taking part in a group involved in warmongering and imposition of an anti-democratic ideology, with more individuals also expected to face charges, after authorities raided dozens of addresses in an operation against alleged radical Islamists.

Ahmed, who denies wrongdoing, previously was handed a four-year prison sentence on similar charges. This sentence is currently on appeal in the Plovdiv Appeal Court.

He was one of 13 people charged after a raid by authorities in 2010 and arrests of several Muslims who allegedly who were advocating the overthrow of the Bulgarian state and its replacement by a theocracy based on Sharia law. The trial started in September 2012 and ended in March 2014 with Ahmed the only one sentenced to prison.

The other accused variously were handed suspended prison sentences or were fined.

Ahmed’s lawyer, Elvira Pankova, told public broadcaster Bulgarian National Radio on November 26 2014, a day after his arrest, that he had been ordered into 72-hour detention.

In the November 25 raids by the State Agency for National Security, police, gendamerie and prosecutors, 24 people were arrested and 40 addresses searched.

Addressing a news conference on November 26, Prosecutor-General Sotir Tsatsarov said that the date of the raid had been brought forward because of a leak of classified information. Vladimir Pisanchev, head of the State Agency for National Security, said that the investigation leading up the operation had taken several months.

Reports said that in the area the Abu Bekir mosque in Pazardzhik, a focus of part of the operation that saw search-and-seizure operations the previous day, a strong police presence remained on the morning of November 26.

mosque pazardzhik

Traditional Muslim prayers went ahead as usual and the situation in the area was quiet, local media said.

In the course of the raid, computers, a large amount of literature and videos were seized.

Five of those detained on November 25 had been released, BNR said.

(Screenshots from bTV)



The Sofia Globe staff

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