The Supreme Court of Bulgaria announced in early March that the life prison sentences in absentia for two Hezbollah terrorists were confirmed for their role in blowing up an Israeli tour bus in the seaside resort of town of Burgas, killing five Israelis and their Bulgarian Muslim bus driver in 2012.
Bulgarian Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev said on March 7 that the sentences have been confirmed by the Supreme Court of Cassation.
The two convicted Hezbollah terrorists Meliad Farah, a Lebanese-Australian citizen, and Hassan El Hajj Hassan, a Lebanese-Canadian citizen, fled to Lebanon after the bombing. The Jerusalem Post previously reported that Bulgaria urged Lebanon to extradite the terrorists but Lebanon’s government, where Hezbollah plays a dominant role, rebuffed the Bulgarian authorities.
Toby Dershowitz, senior vice president for government relations and strategy at the non-partisan Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Post that “The court’s affirmation of the guilty verdict and sentence is noteworthy but must be followed by enforcement of the Interpol red notices for the two to ensure they serve their sentences. Moreover, the initial findings of Hezbollah’s role in the bombing led Europe to designate Hezbollah’s so-called military wing. It’s time for both the EU and Bulgaria itself to designate Hezbollah in its entirety, joining the twenty or so countries that have already done so.”
France is currently the main impediment to a European Union proscription of Hezbollah’s entire movement as a foreign terrorist organization.
The International Criminal Police Organization, or Interpol, issued red notices to secure the arrests of the two Hezbollah terrorists. A third Hezbollah terrorist, the French-Lebanese bomb-carrier Mohamad Hassan El-Husseini, died during the terrorist attack. It is unclear if it was a suicide bombing or if the device was externally activated, resulting in El-Husseini’s death.