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Bulgarian police to conduct unauthorized searches

Date: 12.10.2005

In urgent cases police officers would not need a warrant in order to conduct searches, Bulgaria's parliament decided Wednesday with the new changed in the penal code.

Normally the police would need a warrant from a local first-instance court judge to start a pre-trial, execute a search, or confiscate evidence, the changes in the law state. This procedure could only be bypassed if the case is urgent and there would be no other opportunity to conduct the procedure for fear of loss of evidence.

The protocol of such rushed actions would have to be delivered by the prosecutors to a judge in less than 24 hours of the event, the MPs decided.

One of the major changes concerns Internet service providers who would be obliged to cooperate with the investigation by gathering and recording information about their clients and providing data necessary for solving a crime.

Undercover agents would be questioned in court as witnesses and confidential deals and controlled deliveries could be used as evidentiary support.

Prosecutors in charge of an investigation would have to submit to the court a written request for using special reconnaissance devices such as hidden cameras and microphones. Such devices should not be used for a period longer than two moths and the data gathered with them could not be the only ground for an indictment.

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