Maximum Penalty Asked in Sofia-Kardam Train Disaster Case

Crime | September 20, 2012, Thursday // 16:29|  views

Nine people died after two cars of the night train going from Sofia to the northeastern town of Kardam burst into flames minutes after midnight. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

The prosecutor in the case of the 2008 deadly train fire in Bulgaria asked Thursday for the maximum penalty of fifteen years behind bars for two of the three defendants.

The Bulgarian National Radio, BNR, reports that the jail time has been requested for Georgi Georgiev, ticket collector, and for Ivanka Kostadinova, head of the train.

According to the prosecution, their guilt has been proven beyond reasonable doubt since they failed to carry out the orders of the Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ) to immediately evacuate in such cases all passengers, which led to the deaths of nine people.

The prosecutor further requested six years behind bars for the third defendant, Georgi Ivanov, former Deputy Head of the Passengers' Travels Department at BDZ for ordering a double lock of all doors of sleep cars, which prevented the passengers from leaving the train.

In September 2011, Bulgaria's Supreme Court of Cassations (VKS) returned the Sofia-Kardam train fire case for retrial to the Veliko Tarnovo Appellate Court.

On February 29 2008, in the deadliest train accident since 1992, 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. One of the victims was the Director of the National Archaeology Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, BAS, Prof. Rasho Rashev.

Georgiev, Kostadinova, and Ivanov were summoned as defendants on charges of homicide through reckless imprudence.

VKS found that the Court of second instance has reached its conclusions on the basis of inconclusive or incomplete evidence.

The Pleven District Court sentenced Georgi Georgiev to 12 years of imprisonment, Ivanka Kostadinova to 8 years behind bars and declared Georgi Ivanov not guilty.

On March 2 2011, the Veliko Tarnovo Appellate Court reduced the prison terms of Georgiev and Kostadinova to 8 years and 6 months and 5 years, respectively. Ivanov was declared not-guilty.

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Tags: Veliko Tarnovo, Pleven, BDZ, kardam, sofia, District Court, train fire, Appellate Court, VKS, Supreme Court of Cassations, Prosecutor


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