Bulgarian court orders nationalist politician returned to custody on people-trafficking charges

The Regional Court in Bulgaria’s second city Plovdiv has ordered Anelia Veleva, the former Kostinbrod co-ordinator of the nationalist National Movement for the Salvation of Bulgaria, returned to custody pending her trial on people-trafficking charges.

The Plovdiv District Court last week released her from arrest on the grounds that evidence given by police officers against Veleva was mutually contradictory.

The remaining five accused were remanded in custody pending trial.

Prosecutors appealed against the decision to release Veleva, and presented new evidence of Veleva’s involvement in the crime. This was accepted by the court.

Veleva was held, along with the other five, on July 22 when police intercepted a convoy of cars transporting migrants on Trakiya Motorway, en route from the Turkish border to Bulgaria’s border with Serbia.

Veleva, who has given a number of media interviews denying wrongdoing, said on July 28 that she was resigning from the NFSB.

Led by Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov, the NFSB is a constituent party of the United Patriots, a grouping of far-right and ultra-nationalist parties that is the minority partner in GERB leader Boiko Borissov’s current coalition government.

A tough line against illegal migration and curtailing of facilities for refugees is a signature issue for the United Patriots.

When she announced her resignation from the NFSB on July 28, Veleva said: “I believe that I have been the subject of a negative media campaign, precisely because of my party involvement and because of the participation of NFSB in the government”.




The Sofia Globe staff

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