Bulgaria Burgas bus bomb accused face trial in absentia

The aftermath of a suicide bomb attack in Burgas, Bulgaria (July 2012) Prosecutors have not said which country the suspects are in

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Bulgaria will stage a trial for two men accused of last year's deadly Burgas suicide bus bombing whether or not the suspects are present, prosecutors say.

Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov said he knew the whereabouts of the men and would seek extradition. Otherwise they would face trial in absentia.

The suspects are said to be members of the armed wing of the Shia group Hezbollah, which denies any involvement.

The bomber killed five Israeli tourists in Burgas on 18 July last year.

Their bus was attacked at the airport of the Black Sea resort, and the bus driver was also killed.

Bulgaria has given the EU's police agency the names of the two suspects.

They were identified as Australian citizen Meliad Farah, 32, also known as Hussein Hussein, and 25-year-old Hassan El Hajj Hassan, a Canadian citizen.

Both suspects are of Lebanese origin and are thought to have lived in Lebanon for several years before the attack, but are no longer resident there.

They are alleged to have provided the explosive device and logistical support to the bomber, who killed himself in the attack.

Prosecutor Tsatsarov said Bulgaria needed to send a "crystal clear signal that such terrorism meets zero tolerance".

"If we cannot bring them to court in person, we will charge them in absence but we will send a clear signal that such investigations in Bulgaria end with a verdict," he said.

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