Bulgarian Top Cop Exonerated on Libel ChargesSociety | October 18, 2012, Thursday // 17:23| views
Bulgarian Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, was exonerated on libel charges in a case filed by a top Sofia judge. Photo by BGNES
The Plovdiv Regional Court exonerated Thursday Bulgaria's Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, in the libel case initiated by Miroslava Todorova, Chair of the Bulgarian Judges Association (BJA).
The news was reported by radio Focus. Todorova will have to pay the Court fee in the amount of BGN 500. The rule can be appealed within a 15-day deadline. The presiding judge promised to also provide written motives within 15 days.
Todorova's attorney vowed she would file an appeal.
Prior to the Thursday session, the Plovdiv Regional Court already postponed the libel case twice. The first time the decision was grounded on to the poor quality of a video recording of an interview of the Minister before bTV.
The second time 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 the BJA Chair 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.
They also accepted then Dobreva's request to examine in detail the notorious 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.
Her 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.
Prior to ruling to exonerate Tsvetanov, the judges were presented the requested reference including the one from the "Manikatov" case.
Miroslava Todorova, a judge at the Sofia City Court (SCC), filed a libel lawsuit against the Minister with the Sofia Regional Court on February 6 2012.
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.
Both Tsvetanov and Todorova did not appear in person for either of the Court sessions.
The material presented by private TV station bTV proved to be "technically unfit", which prevented the expert witness from preparing a phonoscope analysis.
Todorova was not seeking a monetary award and if the Interior Minister was found guilty, he would have been 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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