Bulgaria Chief Prosecutor Warns of Efforts to ‘Destabilize State’ through Migrant Inflow

Bulgaria Chief Prosecutor Warns of Efforts to ‘Destabilize State’ through Migrant Inflow

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Bulgaria: Bulgaria Chief Prosecutor Warns of Efforts to 'Destabilize State' through Migrant Inflow Bulgaria’s Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov. File photo by BGNES

Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov has confirmed that Bulgarian authorities have information about attempts being made to destabilize the state.

In an interview with daily 24 Chasa, he has reiterated that data provided by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov matches reality and “his information is correct”.

Earlier this week Borisov suggested there had been attempts to bring to Bulgaria a crisis “from neighboring states”, referring to Greece and Macedonia and the migratory pressure to which the two countries are subjected.

Neither Borisov nor Tsatsarov have elaborated as to who is behind the so-called “destabilization” efforts, but Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova does not rule out the videos of citizen’s arrests done by migrant hunters might also be linked to these attempts.

Tsatsarov has also lashed out at volunteering patrols, whose efforts to “protect the borders” from migrants had been welcomed by authorities before the video with detained Afghan migrants was published this week.

“No-one could take away functions from the state. No-one can think they could tie up people, detain them and pretend to be a police officer… They will be prosecuted, regardless of protests,” he has made clear, commenting on recent protests in support of migrant hunters which nationalist groups organized this week but which were marked by low participation.

However, the Chief Prosecutor warns that the citizen organizations going after migrants appeared because the state is not “effective enough” to carry out its duties on the borders with Turkey and Greece.

The volunteer squads are also owed to the “ultranationalist and other sentiments that could be seen anyway from time to time”.

Despite the actions of volunteer patrols and concerns of authorities, reported pressure on Bulgaria’s borders has been far below the one applied on Greece or Macedonia.

In the interview, he defends his proposal to ban the wearing of burqas in public, saying they prevent authorities from identifying citizens.

His recent idea has sparked a debate, with some activists claiming it will only incite hatred among Muslims and marginalize them, but has also been endorsed by the mayor of Pazardzhik, a town where controversial inflows of money from Saudi charities have sparked a scandal over supposed radicalization on financial grounds in the past few years.

“With my due respect, [wearing burqas] is not part of traditional Islam… [It] started in Pazardzhik for financial reasons. The investigation found out there had been monthly payment for it.”

Tsatsarov has also commented on the Panama Papers case, emphasizing that there is no ground for the prosecution to launch any inspection into Bulgarians who are listed in the documents unless tax authorities find any financial irregularities.

Last week the National Revenue Agency announced it had demanded data from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism (ICIJ) – which published the findings of an investigation based on 11.5 million documents about politicians, celebrities and entrepreneurs’ offshore dealings – about the dozens of Bulgarians who are said to be part of the list.

Tsatsarov also says he welcomes the move to divide the Supreme Judicial Council, magistrates’ top decisionmaking body, into two colleges – one of judges and the other for prosecutors – despite having been a staunch opponent in the beginning.

Now he calls it a “positive” opportunity to show judges and prosecutors are able to solve their problems separately.

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