Bulgarian Judges: Police Spec Op Stirs Aggresson against Judiciary

Politics » DOMESTIC | February 1, 2012, Wednesday // 13:49

The Union of Judges in Bulgaria has sent an open letter of protest against the Ministry of Interior, for publicizing codenames of a special operation irreverently referring to the name of a judge.

Last Thursday, Sofia police carried out a much-vaunted special operation against a group of extortionists, codenamed with the acronym RALICA (or RALITSA), a popular Bulgarian female given name.

As it turns out, Sofia City Court Judge Ralitsa Manolova had presided a court sitting that decided that the detention under which one of the arrested suspects had been placed should be transformed into house arrest.

According to the Ministry of Interior press release last Thursday, as an abbreviation, in Bulgarian the acronym translates to "Racketeering, Greed, Hypocrisy, Extortion, Cynicism and Anarchy".

"The so-called RALICA operation gives a clear signal to Bulgarian judges that if they take a decision that the Ministry of Interior does not like, they will have to face a personal aggressive and manipulative attack," reads the Union of Judges letter.

"Such an approach grossly infringes upon the independence of the court and judges in Bulgaria and puts under question the fair trial against any citizen who has been charged with a crime," add the judges.

The Union of Judges in Bulgaria's position also recalls that the control and execution of house arrests in Bulgaria is in the authority of the Ministry of Interior, and it is the institution that must report and be held responsible if a detainee escapes this measure.

The letter also reminds that in July 2011, Bulgarian Minister of Interior Tsvetan Tsvetanov warned that the police will start naming so-called "special operations" with the names of judges who have let detainees out of arrest.

The judges express their outrage at the practice, saying it creates a possible dangerous precedent, and warns that any subduing of the judiciary will severely affect freedom and the rule of law in Bulgaria.

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Tags: RALICA, Ralitsa Manolova, Sofia City Court, Union of Judges in Bulgaria, police, Ministry of Interior, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, judges, rule of law, court
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