New Draft Police Act Threatens Human Rights in Bulgaria - Activists
A new draft legislative act currently tabled to the Bulgarian Parliament greatly expands the powers of Bulgaria's police to the detriment of the civil liberties of citizens and residents, alarmed activists.
The proposal for a new Law on the Ministry of Interior has been tabled by cabinet last Monday.
Among the motives for the proposal is the need for a completely new and systematically reformed concept of the Bulgarian law enforcement authorities.
Among the innovations regarding which activists and rights organizations have alarmed is the expansion of information gathering powers of the police and the provision for militia-like structures.
The Bulgarian Helsinki Committee has issued an official position also criticizing the liberalization of the use of force by police officers and ways they can counteract private individuals.
Other activists have drawn attention to the creation of the position of a so-called "non-tenure police co-worker," which they say would make posisble the creation of random militias.
The powers of those co-workers would not be equal to those of police officers, but would have to be determined by ministerial order, and not by a law.
The news comes against the backdrop of complaints by anti-cabinet student protesters against the excessive use of police force, and against reports of groups of far-rightists harassing people in neighborhoods known to be frequented by immigrants.
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