Australian man convicted of terror offences in Bulgarian court

A former Australian private schoolboy has been found guilty of terrorism offences in Bulgaria.

 

Sydney man John "Ivan" Zahariev was convicted in a Bulgarian court on charges of training as a terrorist with the intention of carrying out a terrorist act.

Sofia's Special Criminal Court on Monday found the dual Australian-Bulgarian citizen guilty as his mother, who had flown from Australia in support, watched nearby.

Seven News was in the courtroom as it unfolded and questioned him about his actions.

John Zachariev has been sentenced to four years prison in Bulgaria. Source: 7 News

Zakhariev went to Sydney's Waverley College. Source: 7 News

"I am completely innocent - nothing has been proven in the course of seven months," he told 7 News as he was led away.

Seven News also has an exclusive interview with Zahariev's mother who despite suffering cancer, made a desperate journey to Bulgaria to be by her son's side.

Zahariev had a Christian upbringing in Australia, but later converted to Islam.


Zahariev called the trial a farce. Source: 7 News

He has been in custody since September, when he was arrested for training at shooting ranges in Bulgaria with the alleged intention of going to Syria to join jihadi groups.

Zahariev denied the charges. After the verdict, he said he had been subjected to a show trial and that no evidence connected him to the Islamic State group.

John Zakhariev's mother left her cancer treatment in Australia to be by her son's side. Source: 7 News

"What's the point of going to another show court and enduring another show trial," he told reporters in the courtroom.

Zahariev says he will discuss with his lawyer whether it is worth appealing the verdict, although he thought it would be a waste of time.

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