Bulgaria court sentences Bourgas Airport terrorist attackers to life imprisonment without parole

At the conclusion of a trial in absentia, a five-member panel of Bulgaria’s Special Criminal Court has found Meliad Farah and Hassan El Hajj Hassan guilty in connection with the July 2012 terrorist attack on Israeli tourists at Bourgas Airport and sentenced the two to life in prison with no possibility of parole.

Meliad Farah, holder of Australian and Lebanese citizenship, and Hassan El Hajj Hassan, a Canadian passport-holder, are the subject of an Interpol red notice.

The court ordered those convicted to pay 100 million leva in compensation to the relatives of the Israelis and the Bulgarian who died in the attack.

Prosecutors had sought the sentence handed down on September 21 by the Special Criminal Court, while court-appointed counsel for the defence had argued that there was no conclusive direct evidence linking the two to the terrorist attack.

In the July 18 2012 terrorist attack at Bourgas Airport, five Israeli tourists, a Bulgarian bus driver and the bearer of the bomb died. Close to 40 people were seriously injured.

A Bulgarian-led international investigation found that the terrorist attack was the work of the military wing of Hezbollah.

In addition to the life sentences, the court sentenced the two to 10 years in prison each for using forged driving licences.

The verdict is subject to appeal in the Supreme Criminal Appeal Court.

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