EC 'Disturbed' by Case of Bulgarians on Death Row in Malaysia

Bulgaria in EU | November 5, 2012, Monday // 18:12|  views

Two Bulgarians are on death row in Malaysia after being convicted of illegal drug trafficking, but the sentence can still be appealed. File photo by EPA/BGNES

The European Commission is monitoring closely the case of the Bulgarians sentenced to death in Malaysia, says Maja Kocijancic, Spokesperson to EC Vice-President, Catherine Ashton.

Speaking Monday for the Bulgarian National Radio, BNR, Kocijancic, stressed the EU firmly opposes capital punishment, and leads the campaign for moratorium on death penalties all over the world.

Ashton's spokesperson further explained the EC was in constant touch with Bulgarian authorities to establish joint actions in helping in the concrete case.

It was reported Sunday that the special envoy for Bulgaria in Malaysia, Angel Orbetsov, will try to persuade local authorities for more leniency in the case of the two Bulgarians arrested on drug trafficking charges and sentenced by a Malaysian court to death by hanging.

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.

Kostov and Bakalov were sentenced to death last Tuesday. They insist they were unaware they were transporting illegal drugs, and were told the package included Viagra and other pills.

The attorneys' appeal is to be logged Monday, while over the week an intermediary body is to decide if the case can be sent to the second instance and the verdict appealed.

"Our position is that the death penalty is unacceptable. We are not arguing against the conclusions of the Malaysian court; we simply do not accept the death penalty as a measure and sanction," the spokesperson of the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry, Vessela Cherneva, said Sunday, adding there is a large debate in Malaysia to impose a moratorium on carrying out death penalty sentences.

She voiced hope the new government, to be elected in April 2013, will proceed with such moratorium.

On Saturday, Foreign Minister, Nikolay Mladenov, also said that Bulgaria's interference is imposed only by the death penalty, not by the guilt or the lack of guilt of the two Bulgarians.

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Tags: spokesperson, Bulgarian Foreign Ministry, Vessela Cherneva, Bulgaria, Foreign Minister, Nikolay Mladenov, drug trafficking, Foreign Ministry, amphetamines, capital punishment, diplomatic mission, Malaysia, death, sentenced, hanging, Maja Kocijancic, Spokesperson to EC Vice-President, Catherine Ashton, European Commission


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