Malaysia Replaces Bulgarians' Death Sentence with Life without Parole

January 15, 2013, Tuesday // 01:48
Bulgaria: Malaysia Replaces Bulgarians' Death Sentence with Life without Parole
In November 2012, Malaysian PM Najib Razak (right) assured Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev (left) that death sentences have not been carried out recently. Photo by BGNES

Malaysia's authorities have replaced the death sentence for drug trafficking of Bulgarians Georgi Bakalov and Ivan Kostov with life without parole, Bakalov's father, Dinyo Bakalov has announced.

On May 18, 2011, Bulgarian nationals Georgi Georgiev, Ivan Kostov, and Georgi Bakalov were arrested at the Sultan Ismail International Airport in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, on drug trafficking charges.

Due to the lack of evidence for his involvement into the crime, Georgi Georgiev was released and deported to Bulgaria.

Kostov and Bakalov were sentenced to death at the end of October. They insist they were unaware they were transporting illegal drugs, and were told the package included Viagra and other pills.

According to the father of Georgi Bakalov who spoke on Nova TV Tuesday, Malaysian authorities made the decision to replace the death sentence of the Bulgarians on December 15, 2012.

"A lawyer in Malaysia is handling the case because it is being considered by a second court," the father is quoted as saying.

"In fact, the judge who issued the death sentence told them he knew they were innocent but he had to issue the verdict. At the same time, Georgi Georgiev was let go because of insufficient evidence," Dinyo Bakalov explained referring to a third Bulgarian, who according to Kostov and Bakalov was the real culprit.

"I want my son back. Georgi Georgiev made them transfer those suitcases, and hid amphetamines in them. The two boys thought they were carrying Viagra. Subsequently, there was only Georgiev's DNA found there. These kids were misled. These are naïve kids who didn't know there were secret compartments in the suitcases," the father explained.

In November 2012, Malaysian PM Najib Razak assured Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev that death sentences have not been carried out recently.

The two officials met during the  Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM-9) summit in Laos and discussed the case of the two Bulgarian men recently sentenced to death for drug trafficking in the Asian country.


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