Six charged in Bulgaria with financing ‘terrorist’ groups

Five Syrians and a Bulgarian have been charged with financing terrorist groups in the Middle East with 25 million euros ($28.4 million) - adding to haul of 43 people arrested in seven Bulgarian cities and towns on Friday. (AFP)
Updated 19 January 2019

Six charged in Bulgaria with financing ‘terrorist’ groups

SOFIA: Five Syrians and a Bulgarian have been charged with financing terrorist groups in the Middle East with 25 million euros ($28.4 million), Bulgaria’s attorney general said Saturday.
“The group transferred at least 25 million euros to terrorist organizations over four years,” Rumiana Arnaudova, a spokeswoman for the attorney general said.
They were also charged with “preparing terrorist acts in another country,” she said.
The money was moved about by the “hawala” system, an informal method of payment based on trust that is far more difficult to trace than bank transfers.
Deputy Attorney General Ivan Guechev said such a network was “without precedent in the European Union.”
The money transferring network operates in many European countries and has facilitated the movement of 100-300 million euros per year, according to sources close to the enquiry cited in the Bulgarian 24 Chasa newspaper.
The six charged make up part of a haul of 43 people arrested in seven Bulgarian cities and towns on Friday.
The group also delivered at least 100 vehicles, bought in Bulgaria, to terror groups in Syria, Arnaudova said.


Jakarta literary festival aims to give a voice to the voiceless

Updated 10 min 54 sec ago

Jakarta literary festival aims to give a voice to the voiceless

  • The four-day festival features authors from the Middle East and Africa
  • The festival unites international authors with dozens of fellow writers from Indonesia

JAKARTA: The inaugural Jakarta International Literary Festival commenced on Tuesday evening with a focus on bringing together writers and literary works from the Global South. 

Festival Director Yusi Avianto Pareanom said that the organizer, the Literary Committee of the Jakarta Arts Council, wanted to emphasize the importance of creating balance in a discourse that has been dominated by work from the Global North.

The four-day festival features authors from the Middle East and Africa, such as Legodle Seganabeng from Botswana, Adania Shibli from Palestine, Bejan Matur from Turkey, Zainab Priya Dala from South Africa, Shenaz Patel from Mauritius, Momtaza Mehri from Somalia and many authors from Southeast Asian countries.

The festival unites international authors with dozens of fellow writers from Indonesia at the Taman Ismail Marzuki arts and cultural center in Jakarta between Aug. 20 and 24.  

“Our theme ‘Fence’ highlights that we want to unlock and deconstruct the barriers that separate us, so that these writers can get to know each other,” Yusi told Arab News. 

“From authors like Adania Shibli, we can enrich our knowledge about Palestine and its literary scene. There are plenty of ways to portray a situation. Through Shibli, we can get understand Palestine through its literary side.

“By featuring Bejan Matur, we know that there is another prominent Turk author apart from the world-renowned Orhan Pamuk,” he added. 

Shibli delivered her keynote speech titled “I am not to speak my language” at the opening of the festival, in which she described how the Israeli occupation has silenced Arabic-speaking Palestinians.

“The phenomenon of Palestinians taking refuge in silence whenever they are around Hebrew speakers in Palestine or Israel is not unfamiliar,” Shibli said.

She added that decades of military occupation had made speaking in Arabic a fraught experience. 

“Colonialism, however, does not only show contempt toward the colonized, their history and their culture by silencing them, but also toward their language,” she said.  

Shibli described how the nationality law, which the Israeli government passed in July 2018, strips Arabic of its designation as an official language and downgrades it to a special status. 

“Arabic was downgraded from a language into a threat a long time ago,” she added. 

Yusi said that what Shibli described in her speech is relevant to similar situations in other countries, including Indonesia. 

Multilingual Indonesia has more than 700 actively spoken local dialects, with 652 of them verified by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Many of the remaining dialects are in danger of dying out due to diminishing speakers, especially among the younger generation.