Bulgarian prosecutors charge three more people over riots at Harmanli refugee centre

The District Prosecutor’s Office in Harmanli has laid criminal charges against three more people, two Afghan citizens and one Iraqi, in connection with the November 24 uprising at the refugee centre in the Bulgarian town.

Prosecutors said on December 16 that the three face charges of hooliganism and resistance to authority “characterised by exceptional cynicism and impudence”, in the terminology used in Bulgarian law.

In the November 24 riots, there was extensive destruction of and damage to State Agency for Refugees property.

Two of the accused have been ordered to sign an official register regularly. The third, aged 16 and thus a minor under Bulgarian law, is on remand under the supervision of an inspector from child services.

Bulgarian prosecutors already have charged 18 Afghan nationals in connection with the riots. Fifteen are in custody following an order by the Haskovo District Court, while three who are minors are in detention under child services’ supervision.

Prosecutors said that investigation into the case continues. Forensic reports on the monetary value of the property damage at the Harmanli refugee registration and reception centre were awaited.

The events at Harmanli led to Bulgarian authorities arranging the transfer of large numbers of those there to closed facilities elsewhere. The government has announced that several Afghans have agreed to repatriation.

The Harmanli riots were followed by a meeting between Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry and the acting head of the Afghan embassy.

Going by official figures, people from Afghanistan account for about half of those who have sought protection in Bulgaria in recent months. International Organization for Migration figures show that most of the migrants and refugees who have arrived in Bulgaria since the start of 2016 are from Afghanistan.




The Sofia Globe staff

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