Trial of Siderov on hooliganism, assault charges begins
The Sofia City Court trial of Bulgarian far-right ultra-nationalist Ataka party leader Volen Siderov on charges of hooliganism and inflicting minor bodily harm to a Varna policeman Kostadin Kolev began on March 23 2015.
The charges arise from a series of incidents on January 6 2014 when Siderov was on a flight from Sofia to Varna, during which he was involved in an altercation with a French diplomat based in Varna, Stephanie Dumortier.
The start of the trial has been postponed several times because of the absence of key witnesses. Siderov’s immunity from prosecution as an MP has been lifted twice, successively as a member of the 42nd and 43rd National Assemblies.
Siderov denies wrongdoing and repeatedly has alleged that the charges stem from a political plot against him.
Siderov was not in court on March 23. Procedurally, because prosecutors have asked only for the imposition of a fine if he is found guilty, he is not required to be.
Dumortier will not be giving evidence in court action arising from the incidents because she has invoked her legal right as an accredited diplomat not to be summoned to court proceedings.