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Heavy Sentences for Bulgaria Train Trial Defendants

Date: 04.05.2010

9 people died in February 2008 when the sleeping car of the Kardam-Sofia train caught fire

Two defendants were found guilty and one cleared of causing the hellish train fire in February 2008 when nine people died while traveling from the capital city of Sofia to the northern town of Kardam.

The District Court in the northern town of Pleven sentenced the ticket collector of the ill-fated wagon Georgi Georgiev to twelve years in jail. The head of the train Ivanka Kostadinova will spend eight years behind the bars.

Georgiev and Kostadinov will have to pay BGN 100 000 each in damages to the relatives of the people, who died in the accident.

Georgi Ivanov, deputy head of Passengers' Travels directory, has been pronounced not guilty.

The defendants have been charged with the offence of involuntary homicide by imprudence. They have pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors have demanded for maximum sentences of up to fifteen years in jail due to the number of fatalities and the high public interest in the case. They have stressed that the investigation has confirmed the charges of involuntary homicide by imprudence.

The probe found out that the head of the train and the ticket collector breached their obligation to first evacuate the passengers and start quenching the fire. The ticket collector is also believed to have been under the influence of alcohol.

The deputy head of Passengers' Travels directory has wrongly issued an order for locking twice the doors of the wagons without getting the approval of the management of the State Railways company.

The sentences can be appealed within fifteen days.

Nine people were charred to death and nine more injured after two cars of the night train going from Sofia to the northeastern town of Kardam burst into flames minutes after midnight on February 29, 2008.

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