For the sixth 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 stated reason for the July 4 2017 postponement was that the summons to relatives of victims had not worked. The Special Court will attempt to notify the relatives of the victims about the scheduled hearing through the Ministry of Justice and Eurojust.
The next hearing has been scheduled for September 20. This means that if the trial gets underway then, more than five years will have passed since the terrorist attack.
The postponement of the hearing in the trial on July 4 was a sequel to a June 19 2017 postponement, which followed 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.
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)