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Bulgaria

Yearbook 2015

2015 BulgariaBulgaria. The surge in refugee flows to Europe prompted the authorities to decide to extend a three-mile-long wall along the border with Turkey. During the year reinforcements were also sent to the borders against both Macedonia and Turkey. Bulgarian smugglers were identified as particularly active in the ongoing wave of asylum seekers to EU countries, mainly in northern Europe. At the end of the year, the British charity Oxfam accused Bulgarian authorities of exposing migrants to extortion and violence.

According to COUNTRYAAH, a disputed imam was sentenced in June to two years in prison for propagating "anti-democratic ideals" and inciting hatred on religious grounds. Twelve other Muslim religious leaders were sentenced to fines for similar crimes.

2015 Bulgaria

In August, Kirtjo Kirov, who was head of the intelligence service 2003-12, was sentenced to ten years in prison for embezzlement of the equivalent of EUR 2.4 million. Kirov, who was considered to be close to the Socialist Party, claimed that the verdict was politically motivated. He was also sentenced to seize half of his assets.

In September, Parliament unexpectedly voted down a proposed constitutional amendment to set up a special authority to combat widespread corruption. The authority would investigate the economies of thousands of executives. The proposal had been tabled by the government but a number of MPs from government parties voted against it.

The limitation period for serious political crimes committed by Communist officials expired in September. Among crimes that could thus be investigated were the notable poison murder in 1978 of a dissident, a murder committed with the help of an umbrella on a bridge in London. The country's Turkish minority also hoped to be able to claim responsibility for a "Bulgarian campaign" during the 1980s, when ethnic Turks were forced to change their names, among other things.

When municipal elections were held in November, the ruling right-wing party GERB went ahead and won, among other things, the mayor's post in the capital Sofia and several other major cities.

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