Bulgarian Prosecution Demands Life in Jail for 'Belneyski' Defendant Who Pleads Innocent

Crime | June 7, 2011, Tuesday // 12:27|  views

Lazar Kolev is seen in the courtroom Tuesday. Attorney Marin Markovski Sr. is in the background. Photo by BGNES

The Pazardzhik Prosecution demanded a life sentence with no parole for the only defendant in Bulgaria's high-profile murder case of two young sisters, who once again pleaded innocent.

The defendant, Lazar Kolev spoke Tuesday during his trial at the Pazardzhik Regional Court, saying he did not murder the Belneyski sisters, never knew them, and never had anything in common with them.

In the sitting, the Prosecutor's address lasted for some 5 hours and argued that there is conclusive proof of the defendant's guilt, mandating life in prison with no possibility of parole.

"I am innocent and I must be exonerated if there is any justice in this country. And to the judges, for the sake of your consciousness, I will tell you – if you issue a not guilty verdict - it would be not for a monster, but for an innocent man. I can look the parents in the eyes and tell them I did not kill their children" the defendant told the magistrates.

Kolev further stated the entire investigation had been flawed and prejudiced, and with numerous violations committed by investigator, Veselin Martinski. He accused the latter of taking him out of his prison cell non-stop, without the presence of a lawyer and telling him it would be better to jump out of the window because the life sentence had been already negotiated with the Court and is 100% certain.

"Isn't this a crime? Isn't it a crime for the investigator to keep telling me he never lost a case, and even if I would hire ten other prominent attorneys, in addition to Markovski, I would still be sentenced? Isn't it a crime to accuse an innocent man all while coming drunk to work?" the defendant said.

According to Kolev, the trial is unfair, aimed only at sentencing a convenient scape goat as himself.

Sisters Rositsa (18) and Kristina (15) Belneyski went missing in January 2006, after leaving a disco bar in the town of Pazardzhik. The sisters were found dead at the beginning of February near the town of Peshtera.

At its April session, the Pazardzhik District Court questioned Vladimir Slavov-Ishirkovetsa, a former cellmate of Kolev, who claimed that Lazar Kolev had admitted to him that he had murdered the two girls.

The entire case has been dragging on for a long time and was marred by a number of controversies.

Prominent Bulgarian lawyers and Kolev's defense council - father and son Markovski, say they have strong suspicions of tampering with the evidence, and claim the investigation and the trial are biased.

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Tags: Lazar, Kolev, Murder, court, Pazardzhik, sisters, Belneyski, Gramadite, autopsy, coroner, Marin, Markovski, DNA, Veselin, Martinski, investigator


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