Four police to be sanctioned for excessive force during Bulgaria’s anti-government protests

An investigation by a Bulgarian Interior Ministry commission has found that during anti-government protests on July 10, four police exceeded their official powers, violating the fundamental rights of citizens by using physical force in excess of the required limits.

This was announced by the Interior Ministry on July 27, at the conclusion of an investigation prompted by videos posted online of the use of force by police at the protests.

The four are members of the Specialised Police Forces.

Footage of the police action during the protests caused outrage on social networks. Apart from a separate incident involving provocateurs, the protests – which on July 27 reached their 19th day, continuing to demand the resignation of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s government and of Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev – have been peaceful.

The Interior Ministry said that in connection with the findings of the commission, “the respective disciplinary sanctions provided for in the Interior Ministry Act will be imposed.”

By order of Interior Minister Hristo Terziyski, a “severe disciplinary sanction” will be imposed on a senior employee of the Specialised Police Forces. Junior members of the same department will also be sanctioned, the statement said, without giving details of the penalties.

The statement said that “to guarantee the rights of all interested parties and the objectivity of the investigation” there had been repeated talks with the protesters involved in the case, but they refused or stated that they did not wish to exercise their right to a position on the cases investigated by the commission.

Materials collected in the investigation had been sent to the Sofia District Prosecutor’s Office, the Interior Ministry statement said.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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