Bulgaria’s cabinet adopts Penal Code but ‘discussions to continue’

Bulgaria’s Cabinet has adopted the controversial new draft Penal Code, which has been under fire from lawyers, human rights groups and business associations, in a suprise move on January 15.

Considering the controversy around the code, there had been demands by NGOs that adoption by the cabinet would happen only after six months to allow thorough debate, but this has not happened, instead with the government promising further consultation before the draft is tabled in Parliament.

At least one of the most severely-criticised provisions, providing for jail terms for photographing someone without their consent, is said to have been dropped. However, the extent of any amendments could not be confirmed after the cabinet meeting because any “new” version has not been posted online.

Zinaida Zlatanova, justice minister in the Bulgarian Socialist Party government, also has been trying to deflect criticism of the bill by saying that two previous governments were involved in its drafting.

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(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)