Sofia City Court sentences Ataka leader Siderov to 100 hours community service for hooliganism

Sofia City Court sentenced Ataka party leader Volen Siderov on March 23 2016 to 100 hours community service after he pleaded guilty to hooliganism and assault charges arising from a confrontation outside the National Assembly in May 2013.

Siderov said that he wanted to spend the community service cleaning monuments and thanked the court for its ruling.

In the May 2013 incident, Siderov was involved in an altercation with an employee of television station Skat, owned by Siderov’s former political partner and now-rival nationalist, Valeri Simeonov. During the incident, Siderov pushed a police officer.

The March 23 Sofia City Court hearing was a sequel to one last week in which the court declined to uphold a plea bargain between Siderov and prosecutors. That plea bargain envisaged Siderov being given community service in the form of a 13 per cent deduction from his monthly salary as an MP, for one year.

Judge Vera Chochkova said that instead of the salary deduction, Siderov would have to perform 100 hours of community service. The court found that given Siderov’s improper conduct at the parliamentary building, community service would educate him.

Siderov’s lawyer, and fellow Ataka MP, Yavor Notev asked the judge if Siderov could be assigned to clean monuments. Judge Chochkova replied that the assignments were not decided by the court, but by the probation officer, depending on what tasks were required and taking into account the skills of the convict.

The court ruling on March 23 is one of a series involving Siderov and plea bargains regarding various charges of hooliganism and assault. In other cases, he has been sentenced to deductions from his salary, variously 25 per cent and 13 per cent. Similar sentences have been handed to Dessislav Chukolov, also involved in incidents along with Siderov, who leads one of the two smallest groups in the Bulgarian National Assembly.



The Sofia Globe staff

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