European Court of Human Rights Rules against Bulgaria in 2 Cases

Crime | February 24, 2015, Tuesday // 16:12|  views

The clash between supporters of nationalist party Ataka and Muslims outside Sofia’s Banya Bashi mosque on May 20, 2011. Photo by BGNES

European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has ruled against the Bulgarian state over the clash between supporters of nationalist party Ataka and Muslims outside Sofia’s Banya Bashi mosque in 2011.

The lawsuit was initiated by Veli Karaahmed, one of the injured in the clashes, with the legal assistance of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC).

The ECtHR gave priority consideration to the case, according to reports of

The Strasbourg-based court sentenced Bulgaria to pay EUR 3000 to Karaahmed for non-pecuniary damage and to cover court expenses of EUR 4668.

The ECtHR found a violation of Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights stipulating a right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

On May 20, 2011 over 100 members and supporters of nationalist party Ataka gathered outside the mosque to protest against the loud noise of the mosque’s loudspeakers.

The demonstration turned violent and police officers intervened when fighting broke out.

According to the ruling of the ECtHR, three pre-trial proceedings were opened into the clashes in front of the Banya Bashi mosque, with two of them suspended without anyone being charged.

Seven people were charged under the third investigation but no information was provided as to whether they were prosecuted.

An investigation, which is still ongoing, with no charges filed so far, was opened by then-Sofia City Prosecutor Nikolay Kokinov.

Karaahmed complained of a breach of the rights stipulated in Article 9 of the Convention, citing the inadequate response of the authorities during the demonstration and the investigations.

On Tuesday the ECtHR also ruled against Bulgaria in a lawsuit initiated by Ana Mihaylova and Lilyanka Mihaylova over the murder of a young man of Roma origin, the father of one of the applicants, by the police in 2004.

A police officer shot and killed Boris Mihaylov while acting on a tip-off that he and two other men had stolen a car stereo from a vehicle.

The police officer claimed that he had acted in self-defense.

Following a protracted lawsuit, the Military Court of Appeal ruled that the police officer had acted in self-defense.

The two applicants cited a breach of Article 2 of the Convention stipulating the right to life.

They claimed that the police had used excessive force against Mihaylov and that the authorities had conducted a flawed investigation into the case.

The Strasbourg-based court awarded the two applicants EUR 16 000 for non-pecuniary damage and EUR 6000 in court expenses.

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Tags: banya bashi mosque, Ataka, nationalist party, European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg court, Bulgarian Helsinki Committee


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