“The tribunal sentenced them to life in prison without the possibility of parole,” said Judge Adelina Ivanova of the Sofia court, which specializes in terrorist crimes.
These are the harshest punishments provided by the Bulgarian Penal Code.
The conviction can be appealed within 15 days.
Numerous concordant elements “link the two accused (…) to the attack of the terrorist organization (Shiite Lebanese) Hezbollah”, pleaded during the trial prosecutor Evghenia Htarkelova.
Elements gathered in the investigation convinced the European Union (EU) to include – in July 2013 – the armed wing of Hezbollah on the blacklist of terrorist organizations.
The United States has long regarded Hezbollah as a “foreign terrorist group.”
On July 18, 2012, five tourists were killed at the airport in Burgas, a seaside town on the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria, in a bomb blast placed on a bus that provided a link between the airport terminal and the passengers’ vacation spot. The Bulgarian bus driver was also killed. Another 38 Israeli tourists were injured in the attack. The alleged bomber, Mohamad Hassan El-Husseini, a 23-year-old French-Lebanese man, died in the blast. The man’s body was identified by DNA analysis.
The first of his two accomplices, Meliad Ferah, a 31-year-old Australian at the time of the attack, was found guilty of procuring the parts needed to make the homemade bomb. Second, Hassan el Hajj Hassan, a 24-year-old Canadian in 2012, is suspected of renting homes and cars as part of the terrorist plan.
The two men left Bulgaria on the night of the attack and were never found again, despite international judicial co-operation.
Their names were inscribed on the US Black Anti-Terrorism Blacklist in 2015. Their possible assets have been blocked in the United States, where any trade with them is prohibited to both individuals and legal entities.
Washington then estimated that Ferah and Hassan were probably in Lebanon.
Hezbollah, a group set up in the early 1980s, is suspected by Argentina of being responsible – along with Iran, for the July 1994 car bombing of a building housing Jewish organizations in Buenos Aires with 84 soldiers. dead.