Mayor of Bulgaria's Galiche Remains in Custody
The controversial mayor of the Bulgarian village of Galiche, Tsenko Chokov, who is charged with heading an organised crime group, remains in custody.
This was ruled by the specialised criminal court late on Saturday after it had sat for nine hours.
A total of eight people were detained in a specialised police operation on Thursday. Among them is Martin Chokov, one of mayor's sons, as well as a former candidate for MP from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), Kasam Kasamov.
They are all charged with participating in the organised crime group, which carried out usury, racketeering, kidnapping, inflicting physical injuries and setting cars on fire.
The investigation has been carried out since the end of last year and the prosecution has managed to gather abundant evidence proving the criminal activities of the group, including testimonies of witnesses.
According to the court, there is convincing evidence that all, except Kasamov, were part of the crime group.
As a result Kasamov has been released, while Vasil Filipovski has been placed under house arrest.
The court ruled that together with Chokov and his son, four other people should also remain in custody.
However the court did not agree with the prosecution that Chokov was the head of the organised group
The ruling of the court can be appealed before the specialised appellate criminal court.
The lawyer of Chokov has said that he will appeal the ruling. According to him, the arrests are related to last year's local elections when Chokov was reelected to his fifth term as mayor of Galiche.
On several occasions, people from Galiche have complained of being maltreated by Chokov and his entourage.
Most recently, people complained of their cars being set on fire by the mayor. This latest incident occurred shortly before the arrest of Chokov.
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