Katunitsa Locals: Tsar Kiro's Verdict Is Just

Crime | January 24, 2012, Tuesday // 14:42|  views

Notorious Roma boss Kiril Rashkov, aka Tsar Kiro, has been sentenced to 3.5 years in jail over death threats. Photo by BGNES

The residents of the village of Katunitsa, near Bulgaria's second largest city of Plovdiv, are overall satisfied with the verdict against notorious Bulgarian Roma boss Kiril Rashkov, aka Tsar Kiro.

Monday evening Rashkov was sentenced to 3.5 years in jail for making death threats against two locals from his native village of Katunitsa.

After hearing testimony from 12 witnesses, the Court in the southern Bulgarian town of Asenovgrad found him guilty of threatening to kill Veselin Hristov and Ivanka Petrova. Rashkov is also to pay damages in the amount of BGN 2 000 to each of them.

It emerged during the trail against Rashkov that main witnesses in the case have been threatened by phone calls warning about dangers for their families.

On September 23 2011, a van driven by members of Rashkov's Roma clan deliberately ran down and killed 19-year-old ethnic Bulgarian Angel Petrov in the village. This provoked the ire of villagers and citizens across Bulgaria. Throngs gathered in front of Rashkov's illegal luxurious estates in Katunitsa and set them aflame.

The events sparked nationwide protests against what many saw as the inaction of the state against bosses in the organized crime world. Far-right groups were quick to gather in the major cities, marring the protests with racist slogans.

Veselin Hristov, who is Angel's uncle, told the private bTV channel that he was satisfied with the verdict, saying it was a success for the entire society, but admitted he continues to fear for his family and his own safety over possible retaliation. He explained that Rashkov's grandsons were still roaming around the village, even though they no longer live there.

It was reported meanwhile that Hristov is being interrogated once again Tuesday, most likely over Tsar Kiro flipping off a crowd of fellow villagers as he entered the District Court in Asenovgrad in December – Katunitsa people hope that the Roma boss will receive another sentence over this incident. They are adamant they will not allow the family to return to the village.

In general, locals believe that the effective verdict could reinstate somewhat the lost trust in the judicial system.

Most of them, however, including other relatives of the slain young man, like Ivanka Petrova, say Rashkov must be also tried for instigating the said murder, producing and trade of illegal alcohol, narcotics, prostitution, pickpocketing and others.

The mother of the other dead boy, 16-year-old Pavel, who had a heart transplant, passed out during the turmoil in Katunitsa and died in the hospital, does not agree with the fact that Tsar Kiro will not serve time in real jail, but rather in a minimum security facility, called in Bulgaria inmates' dorm.

Rashkov's defense council told Darik radio that the jail time for his client was too high considering his health condition.

Tsar Kiro's wife, known as Queen Kostadinka, declared her husband was "clean as a crystal."

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Tags: Veselin Hristov, Pavel, Katunitsa, Roma, Roma Boss, Tsar Kiro, Kiril Rashkov, Angel Petrov, death threats, Asenovgrad, Plovdiv, ethnic tensions


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