Macedonian Human Rights Activist Harassed Entering Bulgaria

December 30, 2003

Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada - http://www.mhrmi.org/

Press Release

On November 16, 2003, Georgi Radulov, a member of the Macedonian minority political party in Bulgaria, OMO Ilinden PIRIN, was harassed by Bulgarian police in Sofia airport when returning from Brussels, Belgium. Mr. Radulov had attended the European Free Alliance meeting in the European Parliament on November 13-14, where he had advocated recognition and human rights for the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria.

At passport control in Sofia, Bulgarian police seized Mr. Radulov's passport and told the other people in line to "Go to the other entrance because we have a lot more work with this citizen". Mr. Radulov asked why he was being held up and he asked the policeman to identify himself. The police officer refused to answer either question. He then led Mr. Radulov to the customs area and an official named Zhivko Dulev bombarded Mr. Radulov with questions about his whereabouts, the purpose of his visit to Brussels, and exactly what he had said. Mr. Radulov demanded to know the reason for this interrogation and he was told that the order came from the lieutenant.

All of the documents that Mr. Radulov had from the European Parliament meeting were also seized and Mr. Radulov's luggage was searched. Police later returned the documents after apparently photocopying them. Mr. Radulov demanded a written declaration outlining the details of the search. He finally received a document with the name of the presiding official, Ivan Mihailov, but a reason for the search was never given. The whole ordeal lasted about two hours.

According to Mr. Radulov, "Bulgarian authorities try to intimidate Macedonian human rights activists - we are constantly monitored, videotaped, and threatened if we raise the issue of recognition and human rights for the Macedonians in Bulgaria." (For more information please see the MHRMC's report to the 2003 OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting:

http://www.mhrmi.org/news/2003/octobar15c_e.asp

The Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada calls on the international community, and specifically the European Union, to apply pressure on Bulgaria to immediately recognize its large Macedonian minority and grant it the human rights that it is guaranteed by all international human rights conventions. Moreover, the MHRMC calls on the European Union to make Bulgaria's accession to the European Union explicitly conditional on its recognition of its Macedonian minority.

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Bill Nicholov
Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada
Address: P.O. Box 44532, 2376 Eglinton Ave. East, Toronto, Canada M1K 5K3
Tel: 416-493-9555 Fax: 416-412-3385
E-mail:
info@mhrmi.org
Website: www.mhrmi.org

       
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