Stoyan Baltov is dead. He was beaten to death on this day, December 5th, 2008 in front of a disco club in Sofia.
His death prompted a series of protests that climaxed on January, 14th 2009. On this date police dispersed the protestеrs in front of the Bulgarian Parliament with brutal force.
Today the case against two of the murderers is still in the prosecution’s office (it was referred back by the court for further investigation). The other participants in the beating are not considered responsible for Baltov’s death.
There is no independent investigation of the legality of the Bulgarian police’s actions on January, 14th 2009, either.
What does this mean for young Bulgarians that would like to lead a normal, meaningful life in Bulgaria? It means that they are not protected. It means that it is better to rely rather on yourself than on the Bulgarian institutions. It means hopelessness.
Make no mistake about it – unless the murderers of Stoyan Baltov are punished, there will be no legitimacy for the Bulgarian state in the eyes of the young Bulgarians. Unless we prove that murderers get punished in this country, we will only encourage new murderers. Should the Bulgarian institutions remain silent in this case, many more will simply choose the way out of here.
Is that what we want?
Two events have further shaken my confidence in the Bulgarian judiciary system.
First, the case for the murder of Bulgarian student Stoyan Baltov was referred yesterday by the Sofia City Court back to the prosecution for further investigation because the rights of the defendants have been “breached”. One of the suspected killers, Vili Georgiev, was freed from jail and put under house arrest.
Stoyan Baltov was beaten to death in front of a disco club in December 2008. The students’ protests in January 2009 against this deplorable murder were brutally dispersed by police force. I happened to participate in the protests and my account of the events is available here.
In another move, the Bulgarian Supreme Judicial Council has given excellent marks for the professional attestation of Nelly Batanova – the judge that acquitted the murderers of Martin Borilski. Martin Borilski was a Bulgarian student in Paris who was killed there in 2001. The French authorities carried out an investigation and provided all materials to the Bulgarian prosecution.
However, two courts in Bulgaria consecutively found the murderers not guilty, including the court chamber under the presidency of Mrs. Batanova. Now the Paris Appellate Court has ordered a new trial to begin in France against the same suspects.
I fail to understand these developments.