The Plovdiv appellate court ruled on July 1 to increase the jail sentence handed to imam Ahmed Musa Ahmed, who was found guilty of preaching anti-democratic ideology in March 2014, Bulgarian National Radio reported.
Ahmed’s one-year sentence was increased to two years of imprisonment, but he faces five years in jail because he had a previous suspended sentence, which came into effect because of the more recent ruling.
The court overturned the suspended sentences handed to two other defendants, who will now only face fines.
Bulgarian authorities arrested 13 people in 2010, with prosecutors pressing charges in 2012 accusing the group of promoting an anti-democratic ideology and a theocracy, and wanting to impose on Bulgaria the ideology of Salafism and Sharia law. This made them a threat to national security, the indictment said.
Last year, the court in the town of Pazardjik found all of them guilty, but only three were handed jail sentences (and only one effective one, to Ahmed Musa Ahmed), while the others were fined.
Since then, Ahmed has been charged with taking part in a group involved in warmongering and imposition of an anti-democratic ideology once more in November 2014, following raids by the State Agency for National Security, police, gendamerie and prosecutors, which saw 24 people were arrested and 40 addresses searched.
(Ahmed Musa Ahmed at the time of his arrest in November 2014. Screenshot from private broadcaster bTV)