Bulgaria Chief Prosecutor Demands Lifting of Nationalist Leader's Immunity

Crime | October 12, 2015, Monday // 17:41|  views

Volen Silderov, leader of Bulgaria's nationalist Ataka party. Photo by BGNES

Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov has submitted to Parliament a request that the immunity of the leader of nationalist Ataka party and another MP should be lifted.

Its move follows an incident involving Ataka's Chairman Volen Siderov and Desislav Chukolov, a lawmaker of the same party, who on Friday evening took part in a brawl with the owners of a tobacco and alcohol shop and reportedly were aggressive to police officers.

The Chief Prosecutor's Office says Siderov and Chukolov inflicted slight bodily harm on two police officers who were carrying out their duties - an offense which in theory could result in a sentence of up to three years. The website Dnevnik.bg quotes officials as saying the lawmakers will also be tried for hooliganism and spend up to 5 years behind bars if found guilty.

Police intervened on Friday evening to prevent escalation after a scandal had broken out between the MPs and the shop owners. Siderov and Chukolov alleged the shop was selling drugs and smuggled cigarettes to minors, but an inspection that followed found no evidence supporting their claim.

This is not the first case of Tsatsarov demadning Siderov's immunity.  

In November of last year, he made the same request to Parliament based on hooliganism charges related to an incident involving a French diplomatic official at Varna Airport. Months later, with his election to the next legislature (in a snap poll some 9 months after the incident), he automatically acquired immunity by becoming an MP again, and Tsatsarov resubmitted the request.

Siderov then agreed his immunity should be lifted.

On Monday, however, Ataka's leader vowed that if Tsatsarov submits a request again, he would take a reciprocal step demanding Tsatsarov's own immunity.

Under Bulgarian law, the immunity of a lawmaker can only be lifted over a particular judicial action. In order to indict an MP for a second time, prosecutors, have to submit a separate request.

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Tags: Sotir Tsatsarov, Volen Siderov, Tsatsarov, Siderov, immunity


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