Bulgaria's Katunitsa Murderer: I Thought I Hit Dog

Crime | September 27, 2011, Tuesday // 14:18|  views

5000 attended the funeral procession of 19-year-old Angel Petrov who was killed by associates of Roma boss Kiril Rashkov, an act that spurred mass protests in the village of Katunitsa and across Bulgaria. Photo by BGNES

The man who ran over and killed with his van 19-year-old Angel Petrov in the village of Katunitsa last Friday told the Court he failed to stop because he thought he had hit a dog.

Simeon Yosifov, 55, from the Stolipinovo Roma district in the second largest Bulgarian city of Plovdiv, near Katunitsa, is charged with manslaughter, and if convicted will face 10 to 20 years behind bars, according to the spokesperson of the Plovdiv Regional Prosecutors Office, Galin Gavrailov, cited by Darik radio Tuesday.

The Prosecutor is asking for permanent detention of Yosifov.

Gavrailov further reported that after the clashes in Katunitsa, 141 people have been arrested. Seven are already convicted through a speedy court procedure. The Regional Prosecutor's Office in the town of Asenvograd is working on 3 cases related to arson charges against individuals who set on fire houses belonging to notorious Katunitsa Roma boss, Kiril Rashkov AKA Tsar Kiro. In addition, Yosifov and 2 others are indicted for injuring policemen.

Currently, the investigation is declining to comment if Petrov's murder has been ordered, but two days before he died the young man had filed a claim with the Asenovgrad police that he had been threatened. The Prosecutor's Office is also not saying if Rashkov and Yosifov are relatives.

A day before the incident, the following threat had been published in the Facebook profile of one of Rashkov's grandsons: "The one who is my enemy should die in a traffic accident!"

Tensions in the Plovdiv Region and the entire country escalted after the murder in Katunitsa, which flared large-scale violence and protests in the village, culminating Saturday night in an attack on Rashkov's properties, allegedly staged by several hundred football fans.

In addition, more than 100 people in total were arrested by the police in a number Bulgarian cities after a wave of small-scale but vigorous rallies Monday night.

The protesters rallied against Angel Petrov' murder, but also because of the "Roma issue", i.e. what they see as a "privileged situation" of the Roma minority in Bulgaria.

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Tags: protest, Stolipinovo, vandalism, arson, Angel Petrov, violence, Kiril Rashkov, Tsar Kiro, police, violence, Roma, Plovdiv, Katunitsa, arrested, van, Roma, driver, Prosecutor's Office, manslaughter, Simeon Yosifov


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