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Lovelorn airport bomb hoaxerfaces multi-million euro payments

14 April 2004

DUSSELDORF – A lovelorn woman who phoned in bomb threats to Germany’s third-largest airport now faces being hauled before the German High Court – plus paying a total of about EUR two million in punitive payments every month for the rest of her life.

And it was all because her Croatian parents did not approve of her having a Polish boyfriend. Rather than tell him that she could not fly off with him on holiday to the Canary Islands, she phoned in a bomb threat, hoping her flight would be cancelled.

Marina Busbosnjac, 29, was sentenced to two years probation by a state court after pleading guilty last week to making the bomb threats that shut down the Dusseldorf international airport, forcing the evacuation of 15,000 people.

Some 200 flights were cancelled and another 150 were delayed, stranding 64,000 travellers for more than six hours last 17 September.

“I just couldn’t bring myself to tell my boyfriend that we couldn’t travel,” Busbosnjac testified tearfully.

So she called in bomb threats to the airport on her boyfriend’s mobile. She made similar calls to two other airports in western Germany, Frankfurt and Cologne-Bonn. In one of which she mentioned Al-Qaeda, to make her warning appear more credible, she admitted.

“It never occurred to me that they would be able to trace the call to a mobile phone,” she sobbed.

“I didn’t know how I would be able to tell my parents about a holiday with him and I couldn’t really say to him: ‘Listen, my parents wouldn’t approve’,” she told the court.

“Then I had the idea that if the trip could somehow be blocked by someone else, for example a bomb threat, then that would solve all the problems,” she added.

In fact, her naive plot was foiled from the outset. Her flight to Spain was delayed, but eventually she and her boyfriend found themselves winging their way off together on holiday.”

“I could have explained it all (at the airport), but I didn’t have the courage,” she said.

“I was torn between my parents and my boyfriend,” she said, as they looked on in court. “The holiday was hell. I spent the whole time lying to my parents about where I was.”

Police initially arrested her boyfriend, after tracing the threatening phone calls to his cell phone, when the couple returned from the Canary Islands. Their interrogation of him led investigators to his girlfriend.

The court handed down a two-year’s suspended sentence on charges of disturbance of the peace, saying it was showing leniency in view of the woman’s complete and open admission in which she explained her actions.

The presiding judge also noted that she now faces damage claims of nearly EUR two million from her action. At stake are costs incurred by airlines, the airport authority and by firefighters, police and other emergency workers.

“I’ve been told I can pay off the costs at the rate of about EUR 1,000 each month,” she told RTL television reporters outside the courtroom. “But my lawyers say it will be close to EUR two million. At that rate I’ll be paying the rest of my life.”

But prosecutors say the court’s leniency is the wrong signal, especially in the wake of the Madrid terrorist bombings. Seeking three years in prison, the prosecution have filed an appeal with Germany’s Bundesgerichtshof, the Federal Supreme Court of Justice.

So she now faces a months-long appeals case and possible prison, along with all the litigation over compensation.

“I’m so terribly sorry,” Busbosnjac said through tears. “So sorry about everything. I’ve completely ruined my life and there’s nobody to blame but myself.”

Subject: German news