Bulgarian Court Terminates US Extradition Case
The Sofia Appellate Court dismissed Thursday the case of US-requested extradition of a Bulgarian mother of two.
The request was based on a joint mutual extradition agreement between the two countries.
Gergana Chervenkova was charged in a US court with illegal online drug sales and participating in a crime group specialized in money laundering.
The Sofia Court revoked Thursday morning the restraining measure of Gergana, the BGN 1 000 bail, and the ban to leave the country.
Presiding judge, Lada Paunova, noted the extradition case does not determine quilt or innocence, but pertains only to the extradition request. As it had been withdrawn, the case is terminated.
"The United States has withdrawn its request for the extradition of Ms. Gergana Ilieva Pavlova Chervenkova, who is charged in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York with federal narcotics and fraud offenses," the US Embassy in Bulgaria said in a statement.
The revocation came on grounds of new information received by the US prosecution. The announcement, however, does not rule out renewing the request.
Meanwhile, Bulgarians staged once again Thursday morning a rally in support of Chervenkova and for protecting human and civil rights of all fellow country people.
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It is interesting to see how this case is presented in the Bulgarian media and public.
First of all, no Bulgarian newspaper or online service mentions the exact content of the original request and the evidence contained in it that was made by the DEA, and which is very serious (and a big part of it can be verified by just browsing public sources in internet, like the fact that Chervenkova was the person running one of the websites that were used for the criminal scheme - contrary to her claims that she was "only a secretary").
Instead of that, the version of the alleged criminal is presented to us as a proven fact. Then some family photos of the accused are posted - why is that? Is having a family a justification to committ crimes or to run away from law enforcement and hide in another country?
The solidarity she got by the public support from many Bulgarians in FB and other places shows what is wrong with this country.
And finally, almost all Bulgarians believe (based on press releases that reflect not the real legal situation) that the case is closed now. But it is only closed for the moment. The DEA will check the new evidence and then send a renewed extradiction request based on the additional evidence. If she would have been evicted now, the new evidence could not have been used against her in the U.S. So this (temporary) withdrawal of the extradiction request means only that more serious trouble is ahead of Chervenkova.