Alleged Bulgarian Contract Murderers Remain in Custody
The three Roma, charged with plotting and contracting three key murders, are going to be kept in permanent custody.
The rule was issued by the Sofia District Court late Friday evening.
On Wednesday, Bulgarian police arrested three Roma kingpins on suspicions of preparing the murder of Oleg Yanev, prosecutor at the Supreme Cassation Prosecutor's Office, Hristo Varnanov AKA The Pope, Chair of the Supreme Roma Court, and Tsvetelin Kanchev, leader of the Euro Roma party.
The arrested suspects are Lyubomir Iliev-Kadraviq (The Curly), and brothers Georgi Goranov and Vasil Granov. The probe and the detention stem from a confession of a citizen of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia that he had been contracted by Iliev to execute the murder of The Pope for EUR 100 000.
On Thursday, the three suspects were officially charged with an assassination plot against Varbanov, Kanchev and Yanev.
The judge ruled Friday that there was enough collected evidence to make a grounded assumption that the three have committed the crime. Judge, Verginiya Petrova, further stated that the accused were unlikely to hide, but there is a possibility they will commit another crime; that the case is particularly serious because the murder of a prosecutor had been planned, and that if released the three could exert pressure on witnesses and destroy evidence.
The defense council is appealing the decision.
Before the start of the Court session Friday, a large group of Roma – the accused, their friends and relatives, started screaming and shouting that the whole story had been made up and the truth will eventually emerge. They insisted they were "regular people from the Roma minority."
The brawl blew out of proportion when some of the Roma started a fight among each other and the Court security failed to calm them down. The group was eventually pushed out of the courtroom and building, and they went on to continue with the shouting on the street.
Roma clan leader Kiril Rashkov, aka Tsar Kiro, was found to have been their accomplice in the preparations for the killings in the period June-September 2011.
Rashkov has not yet been officially charged because he is currently the subject of another trial which is to shed light on his involvement in the September 23 death of 19-year old Angel Petrov in the southern Bulgarian village of Katunitsa.
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