Bulgaria Drops Case against Border Police Officer Who Shot Migrant
Prosecutors in Burgas have ended pretrial proceedings into the death of an Afghan migrant who died at gunshot not far from the Bulgarian border.
The incident, which made headlines around the world, occurred in October of last year.
Border police officials said the movement of over 50 people trying to enter Bulgaria had been detected kilometers from the border with Turkey. They maintain that, after shooting in the air as a warning sign, a bullet "rebounded" hitting one of them in the back of the neck by mistake, Kostov has explained, without elaborating. Human rights organizations pointed to the development as a possible case of police brutality.
According to the Burgas District Prosecutor's Office, however, the probe had established that no crime whatsoever had been committed by police officer Valkan Hambarliev.
Prosecutors accept the version according to which the bullet fired by Hambarliev ricocheted off the bridge, changing its movement and hitting the migrant. They say as many as 70 witnesses have been questioned, and a number of expert analyses have been carried out.
"In this particualr case, the warning shot produced by Hambarliev was evidently in line with legal norms allowing for the use of arms both to detain people about whom there is sufficient evidence they committed a crime and tried to flee and to ensure his personal safety."
Prosecutors also cite Article 2 (2) of Council of Europe's Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
The section they refer to reads that: "Deprivation of life shall not be regarded as inflicted in contravention of this article when it results from the use of force which is no more than absolutely necessary:... in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained."
"In this particular case," the prosecution goes on, "it is beyond doubt that Hambarliev produced a warning shot by targeting his firearm in a direction perpendicular to the direction of movement of the [wounded person]... Hambarliev was neither obliged to or could foresee the consequences of his act."
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