Bulgarian Prosecutor Moves to Dissolve Controversial Nationalist Groups

Politics | May 22, 2024, Wednesday // 14:34
Bulgaria: Bulgarian Prosecutor Moves to Dissolve Controversial Nationalist Groups

The Varna District Prosecutor's Office has filed requests to dissolve the Bulgarian National Movement "Shipka" and the Bulgarian Military Union "Vasil Levski" based on the Law on Legal Entities. These organizations, managed by three men identified only by their initials, D.S., V.R., and I.L., are accused of activities that threaten national sovereignty and incite ethnic or religious hatred.

In a statement, the prosecution claimed that the groups' actions were directed against the unity and territorial integrity of Bulgaria, fostering ethnic or religious enmity. The organizations are known for conducting tactical training sessions where participants wear masks and uniforms.

In 2022, after the onset of the Ukraine war, the Bulgarian Prosecutor's Office investigated "Shipka." Although the investigation was reportedly dropped in early 2024, the request to dissolve the organizations under the Law on Legal Entities persists. These groups have a history of legal scrutiny and previous Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov faced criticism for not taking a stronger stance against them.

The prosecution argues that behind their patriotic facade, these groups violate Article 44, Paragraph 2 of the Bulgarian Constitution, which prohibits organizations that undermine national unity or incite hatred. Evidence indicates that they promoted religious and ethnic hatred and encouraged violence against foreigners. They also provided combat training to their supporters and organized civilian patrols along the Bulgarian-Turkish border, although no significant outcomes from these patrols were reported.

Furthermore, the leaders of these organizations have maintained connections with far-right factions in Germany. The Varna District Prosecutor's Office expects the court to schedule a hearing to consider their requests.

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Tags: Shipka, Bulgaria, Varna

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