Bulgarian terrorism trial of 3 Syrians adjourned

AP News
|
Posted: Aug 02, 2016 8:55 AM

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — The trial of three Syrian nationals charged with terrorism offenses in Bulgaria was adjourned on Tuesday after their defense lawyers complained that the translation of the indictment into Arabic has been received only a day ago.

The lawyers said that the required time for the defendants to study the papers was at least seven days.

The specialized court, which handles cases of terrorism and organized crime, accepted the request and adjourned the trial for September without fixing an exact date.

The court turned down another request by the defense to return the case to the prosecution because of alleged contradictions in the filed indictment.

The men, aged 20, 22 and 25, who had obtained refugee status in Germany, are accused of trying to go to Syria to join jihadi groups.

In February, the three had arrived in Greece from Germany and tried to cross into Turkey but were not allowed in. Eventually, they had decided to pass through Bulgarian territory on their way to Turkey.

They were caught by Bulgarian border police in the town of Svilengrad on Feb. 8 and eventually sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for three years, for attempting the illegal border crossing.

The prosecution said it had found photos of members of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic State group saved in the mobile phones of the accused, and messages to such people in their communications records.

The three were charged with terrorism and taken into custody, on the basis of evidence collected from the questioning of eight witnesses, including some whose identities were being kept secret, as well as on the basis of forensic examination of their mobile phones.

They could face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.