Supreme Court Reduces Jail Time for Katunitsa Murderer to 15 Years
Bulgaria's Supreme Court of Cassation, VKS, has reduced the penalty for Simeon Yosifov, 55, who ran over and killed Angel Petrov, 19, in the southern Bulgarian village of Katunitsa on 23 September 2011, to 15 years of imprisonment.
The accident caused ethnic tensions to flare up in Katunitsa and other parts of the country due to the alleged involvement of Roma clan leader Kiril Rashkov, aka Tsar Kiro.
Rashkov was subsequently sentenced to 3.5 years in jail for issuing a death threat to two fellow-villagers and is yet to face a tax evasion trial.
In early August 2012, the Plovdiv Appellate Court sentenced Yosifov to 18 years of imprisonment, increasing the penalty of the court of first instance by one year.
VKS ruled that the courts of first and second instance had failed to take into account the arguments of the defense that Yosifov was good-natured, he had to provide the sustenance of his family, and had no prior convictions.
The court of third instance, however, rejected Yosifov's complaint that he had been discriminated against on the basis of his ethnic origin and as a result of political and media pressures.
The ruling of VKS is final and cannot be appealed.
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