Title Bulgaria: Shootings, deaths in custody, torture and ill-treatment
Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 6 June 1996
Country Bulgaria
Topics Death in custody | Discrimination based on race, nationality, ethnicity | Freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment | Impunity | Minorities | Police | Prison or detention conditions | Racial / Ethnic persecution
Citation / Document Symbol EUR 15/007/1996
Reference Amnesty International is a worldwide voluntary movement that works to prevent some of the gravest violations by governments of people's fundamental human rights. The main focus of its campaigning is to: free all prisoners of conscience people detained an
Cite as Amnesty International, Bulgaria: Shootings, deaths in custody, torture and ill-treatment, 6 June 1996, EUR 15/007/1996, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6a993b.html [accessed 23 January 2018]
Comments Human rights violations persist in Bulgaria: they include shootings, torture, beating and other forms of ill-treatment of detainees, sometimes resulting in death. The rising number and regional distribution of the reported cases indicate that they are numerous and widespread. Daily accounts of such incidents reveal a pattern of casual violence and illegal acts by police officers throughout the country. The official statistics on shootings, deaths in custody and complaints of torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement officers are not made public. In May 1995 the Minister of the Interior, Lyubomir Nachev, reportedly stated that 17 people had died in suspicious circumstances in police arrest in the previous 14-month-period. However,no information was given on how many of these deaths had been investigated and with what results. Amnesty International has also recorded an increasing number of incidents in which police shot people who apparently were not suspected of particularly serious crimes, were unarmed and did not endanger the lives of the police officers involved or anyone else. Lawyers,non-governmental organizations monitoring human rights in Bulgaria as well as the press frequently report incidents of torture and ill-treatment. Many of the victims who were subjected to torture and beatings in police stations were suspected of a criminal offence. An increasing number of victims of ill-treatment are people who are incidentally present at the scene, or in the vicinity, of a police action to apprehend suspected criminals. In a few cases police officers were responsible for ill-treating participants of non-violent assemblies and demonstrations. Many of the victims of beatings and other ill-treatment by police officers are Roma. Following the ill-treatment of dozens of Roma during a police raid in Pazardjik in June 1992, Amnesty International expressed concern to the Bulgarian authorities about two other incidents of mass beatings during police raids on Roma neighbourhoods, five incidents of racial violence where Roma were inadequately protected, five cases of deaths in suspicious circumstances and nine incidents of torture and ill-treatment involving 21 victims. The deteriorating human rights situation is further compounded by a pattern of impunity of law enforcement officers responsible for human rights violations. International standards require prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into reports of human rights violations by law enforcement officers. However, information on such investigations is seldom made public. The Bulgarian authorities have consistently failed to provide Amnesty International with copies of investigation reports or any other substantial information about such investigations. This report's two appendices describe seven deaths in custody in suspicious circumstances, three incidents in which six people were shot and 17 cases of torture and ill-treatment of dozens of victims. Amnesty International is urging the Bulgarian authorities to fully and impartially investigate all these cases, to makepublic the findings and to bring to justice those responsible for human rights violations. Amnesty International makes extensive recommendations to the Bulgarian Government regarding investigations into reports of shootings, deaths in custody, torture and ill-treatment. Many of these recommendations were made in September 1994, but have yet to be implemented.
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