Bulgaria Chief Prosecutor Submits New Request to Lift Nationalist Leader's Immunity

Crime | November 30, 2015, Monday // 11:47|  views

Volen Siderov (R-1), leader of Bulgaria's Ataka party. File photo, BGNES

Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov has submitted to Parliament two new requests to lift the immunity of nationalist leader Volen Siderov, Tsatsarov's press office has said.

In a statement on its website, the prosecuting authority of Bulgaria says Siderov allegedly violated public order in two separate incidents.

These occurred in 2011 (during commemorative celebrations in the Bulgarian town of Batak) and in 2013 (next to the Parliament building in Sofia), respectively.

In the former case, Siderov and members of his nationalist Ataka party disrupted the ceremonies by intruding on stage during a concert, hitting some of the performers (many of them children) and bringing the event to an end.

The 2013 case refers to actions of Siderov and Ataka members who surrounded a reporter of SKAT TV station (owned then by Valeri Simeonov, who heads the rival nationalist NFSB party which backs Bulgaria's minority government) and harassed him, later also punching and insulting a police officer.

This is not Tsatsarov's first attempt to have Siderov arrested this month. The nationalist party chief was detained last week after being summoned to the Sofia investigation office over hooliganism charges.

Hours later, however, a court ruled his arrest was "unlawful" and released him on bail.  

Under Bulgarian law, the prosecution can file immunity requests with regard to specific charges, and a lawmaker's immunity from prosecution (enshrined in the Constitution of Bulgaria) can be lifted only about these charges.

But Parliament Speaker Tsetska Tsacheva announced last month MPs were working on changes to the Constitution that would substantially limit immunity, possibly reducing it to lawmakers' right to speak out their positions freely from the rostrum.

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Tags: Volen Siderov, Sotir Tsatsarov, Bulgaria, Batak, sofia, immunity


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