Bulgaria court to deliver verdict in Bourgas Airport terrorist attack trial on September 21

A five-member panel of Bulgaria’s Special Criminal Court will deliver its verdict on September 21 in the trial in absentia of two accused in connection with the July 18 2012 terrorist attack at Bourgas Airport in which five Israeli tourists, a Bulgarian bus driver and the bearer of a bomb died.

Those accused in the terrorist attack on the group of Israeli tourists 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.

The two accused are the subject of an Interpol Red Notice.

At a plea phase hearing on September 17, the prosecution asked for the two accused to be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

The prosecution cited evidence given by people from whom the accused and the bomb-bearer rented cars or temporary accommodation.

Counsel for the Israeli relatives of those who died and were injured in the attack asked the court to declare Hezbollah culpable for the attack, and to award compensation in line with Israeli law.

While a Bulgarian-led international investigation concluded that the military wing of Hezbollah was behind the terrorist attack, Hezbollah is not included in the indictment.

Bulgarian National Radio reported Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev as having said recently that while there was information that Hezbollah had provided the financing and logistics for the terrorist attack, but Bulgaria could not prosecute an organisation.

Court-appointed counsel for the defence argued that there was no direct evidence that linked the two accused to the attack, and called for acquittals.

The first hearing in the trial was held in December 2017, after nine unsuccessful attempts, dating back to September 2016, to begin proceedings.

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