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Court gives jail verdicts for bomb planted in bus to Varna

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Prague, Nov 28 (CTK) – A Czech court Tuesday imposed a six- and an eight-year prison sentences on Vasili Ponomarev and Tadeas Sevcik for having planted a bomb on a coach the regular bus line from Prague to Varna with the aim to harm a rival transport company.

The father of Ponomarev, a Russian national, operates the Prague-Varna bus line.

In May 2015, Sevcik, instructed by Ponomarev, bought a bus ticket to Varna in Prague, using a false identity. He bought a ticket for a bus operated by the rival of Ponomarev father’s company.

Before departure, he placed a bag with a bomb in the bus trunk. He boarded the bus but he got out during the first stop over in Brno and let the bus leave.

The two young men asserted during the trial that they had completed the explosive system on a client’s order and wanted to transfer it to Bulgaria to the client.

Judge Tomas Durdik dismissed their defence, saying it was refuted by evidence. Moreover, it turned out that the suspects partly lied in their testimonies, Durdik said.

He said the suspects clearly wanted the explosive system to blast aboard a coach operated by a company that competed with the company of the father of Ponomarev.

The bomb was meant to explode, which would seriously harm the transport company, Durdik said.

“They did not want to frighten only, they wanted to cause serious damage,” he said.

When the bus departed from Brno, there were 34 passengers and two drivers aboard. Already in Hungary’s territory, the chemical substances in the explosive system started to smell so strongly that the passengers noticed it, the driver stopped and uncovered the bomb, which was eventually eliminated by bomb disposal experts.

The bomb was functional and it was sheer coincidence that it did not blast, the court stated.

Tuesday’s verdict is not definitive and can still be appealed.

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