Bizarre Flag-Hoisting Trial Launched Against Bulgarian in Serbia

Diplomacy | November 7, 2011, Monday // 15:59|  views

A Bulgarian has been called to a Serbian court for hoisting Bulgaria's national flag on March 3, Bulgaria's national holiday, in the Serbian town of Bosilegrad where he lives.

Ivan Nikolov, chair of the Culture and Information Center of the Bulgarians in Bosilegrad, is accused of violating the Law on the Use of the Flag, the Anthem and the Coat of arms of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Bulgarian nationalist VMRO party has alarmed.

Nikolov himself has sent a letter to Bulgarian media, expressing his dismay at the accusation. The Bulgarian national has stated he is disturbed by the fact that this is happening while "the relations between Bulgaria and Serbia are at their best," adding that Bulgaria fully backs Serbia's EU membership bid.

"The relations between two countries cannot be based on violating human and minority rights, which are fundamental European values," Nikolov has declared in his letter.

Nikolov has further pointed out that the accusation against him is based on a law that used to be active in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a country that no longer exists. He has also claimed that the Serbian authorities are trying to put the Bulgarian cultural institution in Bosilegrad under pressure so that it would eventually shut down.

In February 2011, Serbian authorities obstructed the remembrance of Bulgarian national hero Vasil Levski by the Bulgarians in the so called Western Outlands – the Bulgarian-populated parts of Serbia – and mainly in Bosilegrad.

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Tags: flag, Bulgarian, Serbia, court, Yugoslavia, human rights, minority


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