Court Leaves ex-Mayor Charged with Rape under Arrest
A regional court in Panagyurishte (Central Bulgaria) ruled on Tuesday that Ivan Evstatiev, the former mayor of the town of Strelcha should remain in custody.
Evstatiev is charged with the rape of a 16-year-old girl, and the court believes there is evidence he could hide or commit another crime.
The former mayor, 57, maintains the school student consented to having sex with him after drinkig alcohol in a hotel room, which she had visited voluntarily. The girl, however, denies all of Evstatiev's claims.
Media reports, citing court sources, suggest that according to forensic experts alcohol was found in her blood samples.
Prior to the court's ruling, several hundred people had gathered on Monday in front of the municipality building in Strelcha to demand that Evstatiev be punished, private NOVA TV broadcaster reports.
Evstatiev was mayor of Strelcha from the early 2000s to 2015, and failed to gain another term in the last local elections.
Earlier he served as Mayor of Pazardzhik, the central town of the region where Strelcha is located.
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