Libel Case against Bulgaria's Top Cop Postponed Again

Society | September 19, 2012, Wednesday // 08:37|  views

Plovdiv Regional Court adjourned the libel trial against Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov for October 18. Photo by BGNES

The libel case against Bulgaria's Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, initiated by the Chair of the Bulgarian Judges Association (BJA), was postponed by the Plovdiv Regional Court.

The magistrates ruled to reschedule the session on the request of Tsvetanov's lawyer, Desislava Dobreva. The attorney asked for detailed examinations of all cases assigned to Todorova as judge since 2004 to find out if she had delayed the writing of motives, something for which she has already being sanctioned and even dismissed.

Miroslava Todorova, a judge at the Sofia City Court (SCC), filed a libel lawsuit against Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov with the Sofia Regional Court on February 6.

The step was triggered by two consecutive interviews of the Interior Minister in which he accused her of incompetence and of patronizing organized crime because of the delayed presentation of the written motives to an eight-year jail sentence handed down to drug lord Vasil Manikatov.

Todorova insisted that Tsvetanov had voiced untrue and defamatory allegations about her work as a judge and as BJA Chair.

It emerged later that at the time Manikatov received the 8-year jail sentence from Todorova, he was supposed to be behind bars for another crime, which is what she says made her think it would be permissible to delay writing her motives.

Meanwhile, the prisoner was released on parole, and since Todorova's verdict was not effective, he remained at large, which became the grounds of Tsvetanov's accusations.

The magistrates also accepted Dobreva's request to examine in detail Manikatov's case, and rejected as evidence an interview of Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, where he says he had proposed to Tsvetanov to apologize to Todorova.

The judge's lawyer wanted to use the interview to show that the government has no proof of her client's alleged ties with the mafia since it proposed an apology.

Both Tsvetanov and Todorova have not appeared in person for either of the two the Court sessions.

The Plovdiv Regional Court already postponed the libel case once due to the poor quality of a video recording.

The material presented by private TV station bTV proved to be "technically unfit", which prevented the expert witness from preparing a phonoscope analysis.

Todorova is not seeking a monetary award and if the Interior Minister is found guilty, he will be penalized with a public reprimand and a fine of BGN 5000-15000 which will go into the State coffers.

The proceedings were ordered relocated to the Plovdiv-based court by the Supreme Court of Cassation (VKS) due to the fact that Todorova is a judge at the Sofia City Court.

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Tags: Plovdiv Regional Court, Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, libel, Miroslava Todorova, Sofia City Court, Bulgarian Judges Association, BJA, organized crime, mafia, Vasil Manikatov


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