Bulgarian military court remands 5 espionage accused in custody

The Military Court in Sofia has remanded five out of the six accused of espionage for Russia in custody pending trial.

This emerged after a marathon sitting, held behind closed doors, that began early on the morning of March 21 and continued in the early hours of March 22.

The accused remanded in custody include the alleged head of the spy ring, Ivan Iliev, a former senior Military Intelligence office dubbed “The Resident” by prosecutors at the March 19 briefing announcing the arrests.

Also remanded in custody were Lyubomir Medarov, head of the classified information registry in Parliament, Colonel Petar Petrov, who is on the Defence Ministry’s budget directorate, Galina Ilieva, a Bulgarian-Russian dual national who is Iliev’s wife and who is alleged to have been the go-between between the group and the Russian embassy in Sofia, and an unnamed Military Intelligence officer.

A Military Intelligence officer, the sixth accused, who is said by prosecutors to have made a full confession, was released on bail.

Petar Petkov, counsel for Petrov, said that his client’s detention was unlawful because the Prosecutor’s Office had not specified the information that the group had collected to pass on to Russia.

The court’s rulings are subject to appeal in the Military Court of Appeal.

(Photo: Jason Morrison)

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