Bulgaria’s Prosecutor’s Office slams caretaker Interior Minister over ‘obstruction’ claims

Bulgaria’s Prosecutor’s Office has condemned comments by caretaker Interior Minister Boiko Rashkov after he alleged that prosecutors were not co-operating with police against vote-buying ahead of the country’s July 11 parliamentary elections.

Rashkov has called for disciplinary action and removal of some prosecutors, which the Prosecutor’s Office said was an attempt to encroach on the independence of the prosecution and illegally interfere in decisions on pre-trial proceedings.

In recent days, Rashkov repeatedly has criticised the prosecution and said that co-operation could not be expected under the current leadership of the prosecution, a reference to Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev.

Rashkov’s statements were contrary to the constitutional principle of the separation of powers, the statement said.

“In this way, the independence of the prosecution is affected, the prestige of the judiciary is targeted and the rule of law is violated,” the Prosecutor’s Office said.

The Prosecutor’s Office, as part of the judiciary, has a key role in establishing the rule of law, the statement said.

“The attempts of representatives of the political circles in our country to threaten its independence by pointing to pressure represent unacceptable interference in the exercise of the constitutionally determined powers of the magistrates.

“We hope that the long-gone and timeless undemocratic practices, contrary to the constitutionally established principles of the rule of law, aimed at discrediting the judiciary, will not be revived,” it said.

The Prosecutor’s Office said that its statement would be sent to the country’s President, the European Parliament, the European Commission, the embassies of EU countries in Bulgaria, as well as the US and UK embassies.

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