Bulgaria’s Prosecution Renewed The Arrest Warrants For Six Russian Citizens Accused of Terrorism

Politics | Author: Diana Kavardzhikova |January 30, 2024, Tuesday // 14:22
Bulgaria: Bulgaria’s Prosecution Renewed The Arrest Warrants For Six Russian Citizens Accused of Terrorism One of the explosions in a weapons plant near Karnobat

The Sofia City Prosecutor's Office has issued European arrest warrants for Russian citizens who are accused of terrorism in Bulgaria. The subject of the current investigation are four explosions that occurred in the period from 2011 to 2020 in ammunition warehouses on the territory of Bulgaria.

The first case, which dates back to 2011, concerns the explosion of a warehouse of the company of arms dealer Emiliyan Gebrev - "Emco" in the village of Dolni dol. The second case concerns the production of "Emco", stored by VMZ "Sopot" in a warehouse near the village of Iganovo and dates back to 2015. Then a warehouse of the state factory was also blown up. In addition, in the same year, a fire broke out in the building of the former Institute of Special Techniques in Sofia, during which evidence in the case of the explosions in Iganovo was burned. The last blast was in the weapons plant "Arsenal" near Muglizh in 2020. In all cases, there are no victims or injured.

The prosecutor's office started working on the cases only in 2021, the pre-trial proceedings in these cases were combined. Its main hypothesis was that the explosions were intentional in order to limit the exports of the arms company "Emco". The names of the suspected Russian agents match those of the two Russians accused by British authorities in absentia in 2018 of attempting to kill Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Gebrev was also the victim of an attempted poisoning in 2015, allegedly with a substance close to Novichok, or Novichok itself.

In the course of the work on the case, numerous investigative actions were carried out, European investigation orders were executed, operative-search activities were carried out by the National Security Agency. It was established that Bulgaria was visited by six Russian citizens who used false identities. Russian citizens were involved in blowing up the output of a commercial arms manufacturing company. (That is, Gebrev's "Emco").

In April 2021, the Sofia City Prosecutor's Office started preliminary pre-trial proceedings under Art. 108a, para. 1 of the Criminal Code related to terrorist acts. Various measures were taken during the investigation, including the use of European investigation warrants and operational-search activities by the National Security Agency. From the actions taken, it is clear that six Russian citizens visited Bulgaria using false identities. These individuals were involved in blowing up the production of a commercial arms manufacturing company.

According to the transitional provision 9, para. 1 of the Law on Amendments to the Law on Extradition and the European Arrest Warrant (EAW), in force from 5 December 2023, European arrest warrants issued to date, which have not been issued on the basis of a judicial act and for which there is no person issued by the executing authority of a member state, should be withdrawn by the issuing authority within 14 days after the entry into force of the relevant law.

The supervising prosecutors have withdrawn the issued European arrest warrants, which were not issued on the basis of a judicial act. Immediately after that, they submitted a request to the Sofia City Court (SCC) in accordance with the new provision of Art. 56a, para. 1 of the Extradition and European Arrest Warrant Act (EAW) to authorize the issuance of a European Arrest Warrant against the accused. The SCC has authorized the issuance of European Arrest Warrants for the six Russian citizens.

The decision of the SCC has been appealed to the Sofia Court of Appeal (SCA). In a court hearing, the SCA found: "The court agrees with the opinion of the first court instance that, despite the extremely large volume of evidentiary materials, the evidence of the authorship of the act for each of the wanted persons is limited and is based on indirect evidentiary sources, which undoubtedly at the present moment form a logical chain related to their/the wanted persons' established behavior - arrival, departure from the country, accommodation, establishing contacts with the enterprises in which, in a very short period of time after their departure, explosions with heavy consequences."

Recently, the publication "The Insider", with the participation of Der Spiegel, announced that the Russian spies, who are responsible for the explosion in a military warehouse in the village of Lovni Dol in 2011, have risen in the administration of President Vladimir Putin, "SEGA" recalls.

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Tags: weapons, ammunition, explosions, Bulgaria, Russian

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