Bulgaria's Ex President, VP Pardoned 87 Murderers - MP ReportDomestic | November 1, 2012, Thursday // 15:27| views
Bulgaria's former President Georgi Parvanov (left) and his VP Angel Marin pardoned a shockinly high number of murderers during their 10 years in office, with some of the pardons issued before the sentences entered into force. Photo by BGNES
Bulgaria's former President Georgi Parvanov and Vice President Angel Marin pardoned a total of 87 murderers during their 10 years in office (2002-2012), a special parliamentary committee has found.
Over 30% of the murderers pardoned by Parvanov and Marin committed crimes again after they were pardoned, announced MP Vladimir Toshev from the ruling center-right party GERB.
The Bulgarian Parliament set up a special committee to investigate the legality of the pardons decreed by former VP Marin during his second term because of reports that then President Georgi Parvanov failed to issue a decree at the beginning of their second term in 2007 in order to authorize Marin to pardon criminals as required by law.
Even though the news about the scandalous pardons of criminals by Parvanov and Marin shocked the Bulgarian public after their term expired in January 2012, the ruling party GERB and the new President Rosen Plevneliev who was elected on GERB's ticket have failed to revoke any of the pardon decrees.
GERB MP Toshev, who spoke Thursday in Parliament during debates on the work of the special committee investigating Parvanov and Marin's pardons, revealed that some of the pardons of murderers were declared even before the respective criminal's sentence entered into force.
"The legislation must be perfected when it comes to deciding human fates," Toshev told the Parliament.
The committee has also found that the former presidential team granted often granted Bulgarian citizenship in exchange for "favors" such as donations or investments, even offering citizenship to entire families or business partners of the respective donors or investors.
The committee even came across a proposal to grant Bulgarian citizenship to a Ukrainian woman because she represented Bulgaria in a beauty pageant.
"During his term as Culture Minister Stefan Danailov (as part of the Socialist-led three-way coalition Cabinet in 2005-2009 – editor's note) has proposed over 20 firm executives for Bulgarian citizenship. I happen to know a resident of the city of Vidin who had to live for over 20 years in Bulgaria without citizenship. They demanded BGN 20 000 from him for that," Toshev pointed out.
MPs from the Bulgarian Socialist Party – whose former leader Georgi Parvanov was before making it to the Presidency – have slammed the work of the special committee investigating the pardons and citizenship granted by Parvanov and Marin.
According to Socialist MP Maya Manolova, the report of the committee is "pointless" and serves "political goals" to discredit the former President and Vice President.
Manolova remind that the Socialists have tabled a request with the Constitutional Court to declare the committee unconstitutional.
"No pill against stupidity has been invented yet," she said, apparently referring to the GERB MPs investigating Parvanov and Marin's pardons.
"There is no pill against stupidity but there are pills against hyperactivity and aggression. Stop trying to scare us off with the Constitutional Court," Toshev replied.
Independent MP Emil Vasilev stated that there was information about corruption at the Presidency with respect to the pardons and the granting of citizenship. In his words, Bulgaria has now become No. 1 in the world in the pardoning of hardened criminals.
He stressed that pardon should be allowed in two cases only – in the even of severe humanitarian issues, or in the event of a court mistake.
The report of the special investigative committee on Parvanov and Marin's pardons was adopted by the Bulgarian Parliament with 81 votes in favor and 21 votes against. It remains unclear whether it would lead to the repeal of at least some of the shocking pardons or controversial granting of citizenship.