For the fifth time since hearings were meant to begin in September 2016, Bulgaria’s Special Criminal Court has not proceeded with the trial of two accused of involvement in the July 2012 terrorist attack at Bourgas Airport that left five Israelis, a Bulgarian and a suicide bomber dead.
The postponement of the hearing in the trial on June 19 2017 was a sequel to a postponement on May 31, which was in turn a sequel to a postponement on March 29. The first hearing in the trial had been set for September 26 2016, but was postponed to November 10, when it was again postponed.
The reason given for the postponement on June 19 was an irregularity in the summoning of some of the Israeli citizens who were injured in the terrorist attack, and of one of the juristic persons.
Further, the Bulgarian lawyer for the Israelis sent the court a notice that he would be absent and did not want the hearing to proceed.
The next hearing, to be held in the building of the Bourgas Regional Court, has been set down for July 18.
This date was chosen because relatives of the victims will be in Bulgaria for a memorial to the victims of the terrorist attack, and thus would be available to give evidence in court.
Those accused in the terrorist attack on the group of Israeli tourists on July 18 2012 are Meliad Farah, holder of Australian and Lebanese citizenship, and Hassan El Hajj Hassan, a Canadian passport-holder, who face terrorism and document fraud charges in connection with their assistance of Mohamad Hassan El-Husseini, who died in the bomb attack on a tourist bus that had been meant to take the Israelis to a popular Bulgarian Black Sea resort.
An international investigation led by Bulgaria established that the terrorist attack was the work of the military wing of Hezbollah. This led to the European Union declaring Hezbollah’s military wing a terrorist organisation.
The two accused are the subject of an Interpol search warrant but have not been taken into custody, which is why the trial is being held in absentia.
(Archive photo: Bulgarian Interior Ministry)