Bulgaria Sentenced in Strasbourg over Teen Gang Rape
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has ruled against the Bulgarian state for refusing to investigate the gang rape of a fourteen-year-old girl.
The applicant, M.N., is a Bulgarian national who was born in 1980 and lives in the Bulgarian town of Karlovo.
Relying, in particular, on Articles 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) and 8 (right to respect for private and family life), M.N. complained about the ineffectiveness of the investigation carried out into the rape of which she had been the victim aged 14.
Accompanied by her parents, she immediately had filed a complaint after the rape, describing her four assailants and naming three of them. T
he next day a medical report of the rape had been drawn up and the three individuals, having been charged, had recognised their guilt and named a fourth culprit.
M.N. had twice attempted suicide in the following days.
Between 5 October 1994 and 19 October 2004 no investigative steps had been taken. On 19 October 2004 the individuals charged, when questioned again, had retracted their statements and denied the charges.
In January 2006 the applicant's lawyer had complained to the public prosecutor's office about the length of the investigation and had pointed out the risk that the proceedings might become time-barred.
In April 2006 the prosecution had been partially discontinued in respect of two of the assailants on account of a ten-year limitation period. Only one was found guilty and sentenced, the fourth having been declared unidentifiable in the proceedings.
The court has awarded the applicant EUR 15,000 for non-pecuniary damage and EUR 2,000 for costs and expenses.
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