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Bulgaria Supreme Magistrates Scorn Sofia Deputy Prosecutor

Date: 06.04.2010

The Ethics Commission at Bulgaria's Supreme Judicial Council (VSS) will sanction Sofia Deputy Prosecutor, Roman Vasilev, for his behavior during the arrest of ex Defense Minister, Nikolay Tsonev.

The news was announced by the Commission's Chair, Tsoni Tsonev, upon conclusion of their Tuesday meeting and Vasilev's hearing.

Vasilev faces consequences ranging from an official reprimand to being fired from his post, Tsoni Tsonev said, adding the Prosecutor violated the Constitution twice – the “innocent until proven guilty” principle and the one stating no one in Bulgaria can be subject to public humiliation.

A videotape made during the April 1 arrest, shows Vasilev telling the ex Minister, “For me, you are a criminal! As a criminal, kneel down on the floor!”, while he is being handcuffed by masked policemen.

VSS is further requesting the complete footage from the arrest scene.

Vasilev told the Ethics Commission that he regretted his words and actions, and is taking full responsibility. He reiterated his earlier explanations that his behavior was triggered by nervousness, pressure and stress.

Because Vasilev is a Deputy Sofia Prosecutor, according to the law his direct supervisor, Sofia Prosecutor, Nikolay Kokinov, cannot impose a penalty. Vasilev must be sanctioned by VSS.

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