Expert Hopeful for Bulgarians with Death Verdicts in Malaysia

Crime | November 1, 2012, Thursday // 12:48|  views

The young Bulgaria men, who were sentenced to death in Malaysia for illegal drug trafficking, insist they were unaware they were transporting illegal drugs, and were told the package included Viagra and other pills. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Malaysia is considering a moratorium on carrying out death penalty sentences, according to Bulgarian media expert Nataliya Ilieva, who lives in the Muslim country.

Ilieva spoke Thursday for bTV, giving some hope to relatives of the two Bulgarians arrested on drug trafficking charges and sentenced one day earlier by a Malaysian court to death by hanging.

According to the expert, the last death penalty has been carried out in Malaysia in the distant 1986 while from all 900 currently on death row, none has been actually executed.

On May 18, 2011, Bulgarian nationals Georgi Georgiev, Ivan Kostov, and Georgi Bakalov were arrested at the Sultan Ismail International Airport in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, on drug trafficking charges.

The three were charged with trying to smuggle 5.6 kg of amphetamines worth around USD 497 000 into Malaysia.

The three Bulgarians were remanded into custody until May 25, 2012, while the investigation was underway, and were then moved to a jail in Johor, waiting for the witness examinations and the start of the trial.

Due to the lack of evidence for his involvement into the crime, Georgi Georgiev was released and deported to Bulgaria.

Last week, the father of one of the young men, who are from the southern town of Nova Zagora, stated they were unaware they were transporting illegal drugs, and were told the package included Viagra and other pills.

They claim Georgiev was the person behind the crime and he promised them USD 1 000 for the delivery. The "mules," Kostov and Bakalov were forbidden to open the suitcases and touch the shipment, according to relatives.

Also speaking for bTV Thursday morning, Dinio Bakalov, father of Georgi, informed he had attempted to speak with him Wednesday but was able to only hear: "Dad, please call," before the connection was lost.

He reiterated the above claims his son was misled and was under the impression he was transporting Viagra pills and anabolics. Dinio further says he wants to travel to Malaysia to visit Georgi, but could not afford the USD 800 for the one-way plane ticket all while the lawyer wanted an additional USD 20 000 to take care of the appeal, since the verdict is not final.

"He hates drugs. He had close friends within the police force and even was an informer for them regarding illegal drug trafficking," he said, but failed to give clear explanations about what made his son an expert on the matter.

The father also reiterated that the released Georgiev was the mastermind and the one to blame.

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Tags: drug traffciking, Foreign Ministry, amphetamines, capital punishment, diplomatic mission, Malaysia, death, sentenced, hanging


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