Ex-Football Boss Sues Bulgaria at the Strasbourg Court
Ivan Slavkov, former president of the "Spartak" (Varna) football club and a municipal councilor from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) in Varna, took Bulgaria to the European Court of Human Rights over his extended detention without a sentence.
Slavkov sought a substantial €449,000 in compensation but was awarded a mere fraction, €2,300, and an additional €2,000 for case costs. This turn of events has sparked discussions around justice, human rights, and the intricacies of Bulgaria's legal system.
The timeline of events dates back to 2008 when Varna police arrested numerous individuals, including Slavkov, on charges ranging from drug distribution to human trafficking. However, before the massive operation, Slavkov left Bulgaria for Turkey, where he underwent surgery. His return to Varna resulted in his detention and subsequent custody at a local hospital.
During his nearly four years behind bars without a sentence, Slavkov's legal battle comprised over 40 court sessions and nearly 100 days of trial, grappling with 22 unsuccessful requests to alter his detention status. His case, entangled with 23 other defendants, saw 19 individuals receiving sentences after making deals with the prosecution.
Despite serving a 3-year, 8-month effective sentence offer, Slavkov declined the proposal, opting for the traditional trial procedure. The eventual 10-year prison sentence handed to him was later overturned by the Supreme Court of Cassation, leaving the case in limbo.
Parallel to Slavkov's legal turmoil, Bulgaria's anti-corruption commission pursued the seizure of his assets due to an alleged disparity between the couple's income and expenses over an 11-year period.
The Strasbourg court's ruling deemed Slavkov's extended detention unjustifiable, despite the complexity of the case, yet the awarded compensation remains starkly lower than his initial claim. The court ordered Bulgaria to disburse the specified sums within three months.
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