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Bulgaria President Keeps Tackling Penal Code Changes

Date: 22.04.2010

Bulgaria’s President Georgi Parvanov has referred controversial Penal Code changes to the country’s Constitutional Court.

On Wednesday, Parvanov signed a request to the Court to inspect the compatibility of the recently adopted Penal Code changes with the Bulgarian Constitution and international law.

The Penal Code was passed in the Parliament on March 21, and was vetoed by Parvanov. The Parliament, however, rejected his suspensive veto on April 21 despite the fierce attacks of the opposition Socialist Party (BSP) and ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS).

The President disputes the change that allows to issue a guilty verdict only on the basis of anonymous witness testimony and data from special surveillance devices.

The other vetoed text permits appointing a State attorney for defendants in serious crime cases when the defense council of their choice fails to appear before the court without sound excuses.

The President now says the second plenary hall debate failed to change his opinion that the disputed texts violate basic human and legal rights thus he wants the Constitutional Court to rule if these texts contradict the Constitution and international norms.

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