Libel Case against Bulgarian Interior Minister Stalls over Poor-Quality Evidence

Politics » DOMESTIC | June 25, 2012, Monday // 17:42
Bulgaria: Libel Case against Bulgarian Interior Minister Stalls over Poor-Quality Evidence The libel case against Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov has been postponed for September 18, after the Plovdiv Regional Court' summer recess. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

The Plovdiv Regional Court has postponed the libel trial initiated by Judge Miroslava Todorova against Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov for September 18 due to the poor quality of a video recording.

The material presented by private TV station bTV proved to be "technically unfit", which prevented the expert witness from preparing a phonoscopic analysis.

The expert witness notified the regional court in the southern Bulgarian city about the problem with the recording on May 18.

"It cannot possibly be technically unfit. This is not the first recording that we are offering to the court authorities and we follow an established procedure to comply with such requirements,"Lyuba Rizova, head of bTV's news department commented, as cited by Mediapool.

Judge Ekaterina Roglekova, Deputy Chair of the Plovdiv Regional Court and Chair of the Criminal Division of the same court, ordered Monday the private TV channel to present a new "technically fit" recording for the purposes of the phonoscopic analysis.

The expert analysis was requested at the first court sitting by Todorova's defender, Daniela Dokovska.

The phonoscopic analysis is to provide the exact words of Tsvetan Tsvetanov's statement during the morning broadcast of bTV on January 24.

Miroslava Todorova, a judge at the Sofia City Court (SCC) and Chair of the Bulgarian Judges Association (BJA), filed a libel lawsuit against Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov with the Sofia Regional Court on February 06.

The step was triggered by two consecutive interviews of the Interior Minister in which he accused her of incompetence and of patronizing organized crime because of the delayed presentation of the written motives to an eight-year jail sentence handed down to drug lord Vasil Manikatov.

Todorova insisted that Tsvetanov had voiced untrue and defamatory allegations about her work as a judge and as BJA Chair.

She cited Tsvetanov as having said "There are approaches applied in the judiciary by like-minded judges who are actually not in the service of society, we, the people who keep paying our taxes to support the judiciary, but rather in the service of organized crime" in an interview for bTV.

Todorova is not seeking a monetary award and if the Interior Minister is found guilty, he will be penalized with a public reprimand and a fine of BGN 5000-15000 which will go into the state coffers.

The proceedings were ordered relocated to the Plovdiv-based court by the Supreme Court of Cassation (VKS) due to the fact that Todorova is a judge at the Sofia City Court, the court of second instance after the Sofia Regional Court.

Todorova's defender reiterated her call for a priority treatment of the case, stressing the tarnished reputation of a judge trying cases involving organized crime defendants.

Citing her busy schedule, Rogelkova set a date after the Court's summer recess.

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Tags: Interior Minister, Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, libel, Plovdiv Regional Court, Sofia City Court, Bulgarian Judges Association, Miroslava Todorova, Sofia Regional Court, organized crime, bTV, Daniela Dokovska, Supreme Court of Cassation
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