OK drivers in Bulgarian jail
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by Derren Hayes • A north London driver and his mate have been sentenced to seven-and-ahalf years in a Bulgarian jail after being convicted of smuggling £650,000 worth of heroin.
Driver John Mills and his friend Peter Hobbs, of Rainham in Essex, were found guilty in less than a day at their trial in Sofia. They were also fined £1,500 each.
Both men had been detained in Sofia Prison for over six months after Bulgarian customs officers found 20.5kg of heroin in an unlocked trailer locker (CN/11-17 Jan).
On the day of the trial the men's Bulgarian lawyer, who had been working on the case for three months, was told he couldn't represent both men. The court appointed a second lawyer for Hobbs.
Fair Trials Abroad, which has been following the case, say the men plan to appeal against the decision: "This is a breach of civil rights and we are extremely concerned about it," it says. "It's a situation that shouldn't happen in any case in any country."
Both men's families believe them to be innocent. They are staging a series of events to highlight their plight that started with a protest at the Bulgarian embassy on Tuesday, which was attended by recently released driver Roy Clarke.