Sofia City Court Postpones Trial of Ukrainian Linked to Former PM's Murder
Both are linked with the case of the murder of Bulgaria's last Communist Prime Minister Andrey Lukanov.
On March 15 2007, the Supreme Cassation Court acquitted all defendants in the trail for Lukanov's murder - Alexander Russov, Aleksey Kichatov, Georgi Georgiev, the now deceased Yuri Kutepkin, whose body was been found near Sofia, and Angel Vassilev.
Kutepkin is, however, believed to have been the physical perpetrator of Lukanov's killing.
Kutepkin's body was discovered in 1999, in the height of the investigation of Lukanov's murder, in a shaft in the town of Elin Pelin near Sofia. The authorities were told that the body was there by Kichatov who, allegedly, made a confession of murdering Kutepkin to Botio Botev, Bulgaria's top cop at the time.
The confession has been made in the notorious Police base in the town of Koprivshtitsa where all interrogations connected to Lukanov's assassination were held.
Botio Botev as well as another of Lukanov's alleged killers - Georgi Georgiev, are summoned by the Court as witnesses in the current trial against Kichatov.
On Monday, the Sofia City Court postponed the trial against Kichatov with the motif that the mother of the murdered Kutepkin has not been notified about her rights to participate as a private accuser and civil claimant. A court order has been sent to the Ukraine, but has not come back. The trial was postponed to March 23.
Andrey Lukanov was one of the former Party leaders in communist Bulgaria. He rose through the ranks of the Foreign Service and became Foreign Minister but later resigned from this position and took part in the overthrow of long-time leader Todor Zhivkov in 1989.
In 1990 Lukanov served as Bulgaria's last Communist Prime Minister, which was a time marked by corruption, massive food shortages, and civil unrest.
Lukanov was later charged with embezzlement and arrested, but charges were soon dropped. He has been engaged in controversial business dealings and has often been held responsible for Bulgaria's foreign debt.
Lukanov remained an active political participant in the Bulgarian Socialist (formerly Communist) Party, often criticizing its various members.
He was murdered in 1995 outside his apartment building in Sofia. He was shot in the head and chest by a lone gunman who fled and was never captured. The motive for Lukanov's murder remains unknown, but it is largely believed that he was killed by a hired assassin, probably paid for by a political or business enemy, from the same communist circles he belonged to.
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