[Bulgaria] The Harmanli 21 – accused of “Rioting”

We document a report by Bordermonitoring Bulgaria:

Local District Prosecutor’s Office indicts 21 asylum seekers for a
riot at Harmanli’s refugee camp

A Local District Prosecutor’s Office decided to indict 21 asylum seekers
for “hooliganism with boldness and cynicism concerning the riot which happened in December 2016 in Harmanli’s refugee camp. The riot broke out after authorities closed Bulgaria’s
biggest refugee camp, because of a quarantine issue.

Before the closing of the camp neo-nazi and right wing protesters
gathered on a regular basis in front of the camp to demonstrate against
foreigners. The authorities obeyed the orders from the xenophobic and
racist groups and parties and closed the camp for several days.

After the riot broke out on the 24th of November 2017, the camp was
stormed in the following night by a special unit of the gendarmerie.
According to several civil rights organizations, volunteers and refugees
many people in the camp were attacked and heavily injured without being
involved in the riot

Krassimir Kanev, the head of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC), who
was beaten up himself by unknown people during the middle of the night
in October 2016 stated:

Lots of completely innocent refugees were chased in their rooms,
attacked and severely beaten up by the police in the course of that
operation. Nor is there any prosecution of those who closed the
Harmanli center on the instigation of nationalists, turning it into
a prison for several days, which provoked the riot. Instead, we are
going to have several rioters prosecuted for destruction of property
and hooliganism

The Center for Legal Aid – Voice in Bulgaria (CLA) condemned „the
absence of investigation of the police use of force against the

Bordermonitoring Bulgaria (BMB) shares the concerns which were raised by
the BHC and the CLA. The aim of the prosecution cannot justify the
possible unlawful acts of the police, the State Agency for Refugees
(SAR) and the the Health Inspectorate, which should be investigated by
an independent agency.

Der Prozess wird am 24. April 2018 in Harmanli (Bulgarien) starten. (Anmerkung von uns)

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