London Stymies Bulgaria Top Lawyer Murder TrialCrime | November 18, 2011, Friday // 11:47| views
Georgieva was killed in her home in Sofia on February 28, 2000, suffering nine blows from a kitchen cleaver. Photo by 24 Hours daily
UK Supreme Court has ruled against the extradition of a defendant in a murder trial of a Bulgarian lawyer, triggering a furious controversy in the Balkan country.
The court saga over the murder of lawyer Nadezhda Georgieva, which has stretched over more than a decade already, resumed on Thursday. The next hearing has been scheduled for December.
London's refusal to extradite defendant Dimitrinka Kalajdzhieva, former secretary of the late Nikolay Kolev, who ran into hiding in Great Britain shortly after the murder, has been blamed for delaying the trial by more than three years.
Dimitrinka Kalajdzhieva, her husband Plamen and businessman Orlin Avramov has been accused of plotting the murder of Nadezhda Georgieva, who died in her home in Sofia on February 28, 2000 after suffering nine blows from a kitchen cleaver.
"I can imagine what a scandal would have erupted if a Bulgarian judge had delivered such a ruling. I will leave it up to the officials to see how insulting it is for the Bulgarian state," Vladimir Astardzhiev, a judge in the trial, commented.
He did not hide his disagreement with the Supreme Court's motives, which the victims' relatives say were based on media reports, rather than evidence.
The British judge claims there have been many irregularities in the investigation into the trial.
The ruling of the UK Supreme Court will be sent to the prime minister, the interior and justice minister, the senior prosecutor, the head of the Supreme Cassation Court and the Supreme Judicial Council.
The UK court ruling states that the defendant Kalajdzhieva served as secretary of former senior prosecutor Nikola Filchev, which is plainly wrong. It cites statements of European politicians critical of Bulgaria's justice system.
The European arrest warrant, sent from Sofia, claims that the three defendants conspired to enter Georgieva's home. While the men held her head down Kalajdzhieva killed her with a butcher's cleaver, the warrant says.
One of the versions floated so far has been that Nikola Filchev, Bulgaria's controversial and erratic former senior prosecutor, has masterminded the mysterious murder of the lawyer in 2000.
Witnesses claim the lawyer was handed USD 150 000 to give to Filchev as a bribe to make him stop an investigation against the state-owned deep-sea fishing company.
Georgieva, however, did not give Filchev the cash and in a moment of a cyclophrenic crisis he killed her, plunging a kitchen cleaver in her head.
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