Strasbourg Court to Review 2011 Sofia Mosque Attack
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg will review the complaint filed by a Bulgarian muslim, in connection with the 2011 xenophobic attack at the Sofia mosque.
Veli Karaahmed was among those injured when activists of the ultra-nationalist Ataka party attacked the Banya Bashi mosque in downtown Sofia, during prayer hours.
In mid-December, the EctHR informed the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee that the Bulgarian state has until the end of March 2014 to issue its stance on the complaint.
The position of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee is that the state has not provided the appellant with the necessary protection, both leading up to the assault, as well as after it.
In the complaint, the Sofia Municipality is blamed for allowing such a rally to take place on the premises of a religious shrine, especially during the time for prayer. Also, the response of the police to deter the violence has been criticized as passive and ineffective.
Karaahmed also complains of being discriminated against, during a questioning from the investigating officer, after the attack.
Xenophobic attacks have been recurrent in Bulgaria, especially in recent months with the increased number of refugees in the country. The courts, however, have rarely prosecuted the incidents as hate crimes.
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