2 Ethnic Turkish MPs Face Loss of Immunity in Bulgaria

Politics » DOMESTIC | November 13, 2009, Friday // 10:32
Bulgaria: 2 Ethnic Turkish MPs Face Loss of Immunity in Bulgaria Bulgarian prosecutors have asked parliament to strip Gyunay Sefer (R) and Mithat Tabakov (L) of their immunity as part of a corruption investigation. Photo by BGNES

Bulgarian prosecutors have asked parliament to strip two members from the ethnic Turkish party of their immunity as part of a corruption investigation.

Gyunay Sefer and Mithat Tabakov, who were elected on the ticket of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms in the town of Silistra, were not in parliament on Friday, but a member of their party said they are willingness to give up their immunity from prosecution.

The charges to be raised against Gyunay Sefer concern a fraud, involving forged documents, while those against Tabakov have been defined as malfeasance in office, prosecutors said.

Before they entered parliament, Tabakov was mayor of the northeastern town of Dulovo, while Sefer – municipal councilor there.

The previous Socialist-led government, in which the ethnic Turkish party was a junior partner, has been lately hit by a series of corruption scandals.

Former prime minister Sergey Stanishev has been accused of losing classified reports on crime, while ex-farm Minister Valeri Tsvetanov has been charged with abuse of power.

Last week Bulgarian prosecutors asked parliament to strip former Labour Minister Emilia Maslarova of her immunity from prosecution so that they can investigate her for large-scale embezzlement.

Bulgaria's new center-right government, which swept the elections in July, is struggling to shake off the country's reputation for rampant corruption and crime, and has pledged to step up the fight against graft. However, the EU newcomer has yet to convict any senior officials and has put only one criminal boss in jail.

In 2008, Brussels suspended several hundred million euros in aid for the Balkan country's failure to crack down on organised crime and graft.

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Tags: DPS, Movement for Rights and Freedoms, immunity, ethnic Turkish
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