Teenage Syrian refugee assaulted in Sofia

A 17-year-old Syrian refugee was assaulted on the night of November 3 2013 by two men near the Voenna Rampa refugee shelter in Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia.

Reports said that the assailants, who have not been apprehended, were not from the refugee camp and spoke in Bulgarian.

The refugee was treated for blood loss at Sofia’s Pirogov emergency hospital. His condition was described as not life-threatening.

The assault took place at about 9pm after the teenager went out to buy food.

Interior Ministry chief secretary Svetozar Lazarov said on November 5 that the perpetrators of the attack had not been identified. Lazarov contradicted earlier reports that the Syrian had been stabbed, saying that it was not clear what weapon had been used, and that the teenager had been kicked and punched.

Bulgaria currently is hosting about 8300 refugees, about 40 per cent of them Syrians, fleeing the deadly violence in that country as the Assad regime and rebels battle each other for control of Syria.

Anti-refugee sentiment has been stoked up in some sections of the Bulgarian population by ultra-nationalist politicians and parts of the media.

This past weekend, there were demonstrations by various nationalist and ultra-nationalist parties demanding the expulsion of illegal migrants and the closing of Bulgaria’s borders to them.

he Prosecutor’s Office has initiated a pre-court proceeding against Angel Dzhambazki, deputy chairperson of VMRO, in connection with statements by him on November 3, allegedly inciting discrimination and violence.

The pre-court proceeding is a response to a complaint by the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee about crimes committed during a rally organised by VMRO-BND in Sofia on November 3. The complaint was made to the Prosecutor-General of Bulgaria, the press centre of the Prosecutor’s Office said.

The matter was referred to the Sofia District Prosecutor’s Office, which immediately initiated a pre-court proceeding under Article 320 (incitement to crimes in front of a large number of people) and Article 162 of the Penal Code (incitement to discrimination, violence, hatred, on the grounds of race, nationality or ethnic affiliation).

The pre-court proceeding is against Angel Dzhambazki and other, so far unknown, people.

The Prosecutor’s Office will not tolerate such manifestations and will exercise all its legal authority, the office said. This is valid for all appeals about “cleaning the city”, about taking “self-defence actions” and aggression against foreign citizens, as well as about “establishment of volunteer’s patrols and units” so as “to introduce order”, the Prosecutor’s Office said.

Emotions were raised after an incident on the night of November 1 in central Sofia in which a 20-year-old Bulgarian shop assistant was stabbed after confronting an alleged shoplifter. Police have issued a photo of the alleged perpetrator, a 20-year-old Algerian who entered the country illegally some months ago.

(Photo: Bart Groenhuizen/sxc.hu)



The Sofia Globe staff

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