Interior Ministers Blocked 'Hundreds' of Surveillance Permits
Bulgarian Interior Ministers preceding Tsvetan Tsvetanov (2005-2009) have often hindered permits to use special surveillance devices, a former surveillance chief said Tuesday.
Tsvetan Ivanov, formerly head of the Specialized Operative and Technical Information Directorate abbreviated SDOTO, appeared before court as a witness in the trial against ex-Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov on which the Sofia City Court held its first hearin.
SDOTO was until last year part of the Interior Ministry and which administered wiretapping.
Ivanov gave testimony behind closed doors, but Tsvetanov's lawyer, Menko Menkov, summarized his account.
Menkov was quoted by Mediapool agency as saying that both Georgi Petkanov, who was Interior Minister in the NDSV government (2001-2005), and Pumen Petkov, who had the porfolio between 2005 and 2009, have moved "hundreds" of times to stop surveillance procedures launched by magistrates, according to Ivanov.
The lawyer claimed that, unlike Tsvetanov, no legal action had been taken against his predecessor.
Tsvetanov is facing charges of blocking six permits to use special surveillance devices against Orlin Todorov, former head of the Interior's Chief Directorate Combating Organized Crime (GBDOP) in Veliko Tarnovo. Todorov is expected to testify in the case on Tuesday, Dariknews reports.
He has repeatedly claimed that he stopped surveillance orders to "restrict the use" of special devices, in a time when the media often accused his then-ruling GERB party of creating a "police state".
On Tuesday the Sofia City Court also ruled that Orlin Todoov is to be brought forcefully before court after failing to appear at the trial against ex-Interior Minister.
News reports emerged while the court hearing was being held that Todorov had experienced trouble traveling from Veliko Tarnovo to Sofia.
The trial is expected to continue until Thursday.
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