The Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria “Shalom” has expressed deep concern about a statement at a news conference by the head of Bulgaria’s specialised anti-corruption prosecutor’s office Ivan Geshev following the high-profile arrest of a Sofia district mayor in connection with alleged corruption.
Dessislava Ivancheva, mayor of Sofia’s Mladost district, was arrested on April 17 in an operation that has proved controversial, including because she was left handcuffed and standing in the open in public for about an hour.
At a special news conference on April 18 about the arrest, reporters challenged Geshev about the procedures in the operation. He sought to defend, among other things, the time she spent next to a car in which the alleged bribe was found.
At one point, Geshev told reporters: “If we had moved the car somewhere, she again would have said somebody had planted this money. There was a box in the car, not in the boot as you (the media) have written, but on the back seat.
“If we had removed the accused so that she was not present, you again would have accused us of a PR stunt, and we are just fighting for people’s rights.
“Again, they would have said that they are very good people, and some world power like the World Jewish Congress would be interfering. It is always good that the owner of the car is present during the search,” Geshev said.
Reacting, the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria “Shalom”, which represents the Bulgarian Jewish community in the framework of the World Jewish Congress, expressed deep concern at what it called the competely inappropriate reference made by Geshev.
Shalom President Dr Alexander Oscar said that the organisation had always expressed its support for the legitimate actions of the Bulgarian authorities in terms of the law.
“It is unclear how and why the World Jewish Congress was given as an example of a world power that would intervene in the domestic affairs of the country if the law enforcement authorities did not strictly observe the Code of Criminal Procedure,” Dr Oscar said.
“Such a comparison undermines the prestige and damages the reputation of one of the most authoritative Jewish organisations in the world, one that has a special friendly attitude to Bulgaria and has always appreciated the state’s efforts to fight anti-Semitism and the language of hatred.
“Unfortunately, this specific case shows precisely the opposite and creates a sense of alarm,” he said.
(Photo of Geshev: mvr.bg)