Sofia Court Stops Unlawful Wiretapping Case against Former Interior Minister
The Sofia City Court has stopped a trial against former Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov in on the grounds of the immunity from prosecution acquired as newly elected MP from center-right party GERB.
On February 2, the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office submitted and indictment against Tsvetanov and three former directors of SDOTO (Specialized Operative and Technical Information Directorate) with the Sofia City Court.
Under the indictment, Sergey Katsarov, Kamen Kostov, and Tsvetan Ivanov were charged with failing to provide adequate protection of classified information in the period February 2010 – April 2013.
Under the indictment, the three former heads of the police surveillance unit failed to exercise adequate oversight over the application of specialized surveillance equipment.
Tsvetanov was charged with consciously allowing the three former directors of the unit to commit an offence during his term in office as Interior Minister.
The prosecuting authority informed that Tsvetanov’s actions had resulted in cases of violation of the constitutional rights of Bulgarian citizens and had also seriously undermined the reputation of the Interior Ministry.
On February 21, the court returned the indictment to the prosecuting authority over serious procedural omissions and ambiguities.
About two weeks later, the prosecuting authority revised it and returned it to court.
According to reports of Sega daily, the trial against Tsvetanov may continue only after Bulgaria’s new Parliament starts functioning and Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov requests that Tsvetanov’s parliamentary immunity be lifted.
Tsvetanov’s declaration in court on Thursday that he was giving up his MP’s immunitycarried no legal weight.
Tsvetanov faces two other trials which have moved to courts of higher instance, but they will also have to stop until his immunity from prosecution is lifted.
On November 5, the Sofia Appellate Court is to sit on a trial for the embezzlement of BGN 50 000 from the Interior Ministry. Tsvetanov was acquitted by the Sofia City Court.
Apart from that, a court sitting has been scheduled for November 12 under the trial for blocking court orders authorizing wiretapping. Tsvetanov was sentenced to four years of imprisonment in the case by the court of first instance.
Bulgaria’s Chief Prosecutor has to file separate requests for lifting Tsvetanov’s immunity from prosecution in the different cases.
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