Bulgaria. 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.
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.
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
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.