Fight the Extradition of Roma Activist
Bulgarian Roma activist Toma Nikolaev is under threat of extradition for political reasons. Please sign this petition in support!
STATEMENT OF SUPPORT : Background Story
Fearing for his life after a bomb was placed near his home, Toma sought asylum in the UK recently. A long, uncompleted process followed during which Toma continued to help fellow Roma. He joined the campaign to save the Dale Farm community, which was broken up by the riot police assault on the estate on 19 October 2011.
On April 8, 2012 Toma attended a sit-in in front of the Bulgarian Embassy in London to mark Roma Nation Day. Shortly after he was arrested under a European warrant and he spent three days in custody before being released on bail. He is scheduled to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court at 9:30am on 22nd May.
This is the first time a prominent Roma political activist has been brought before this court, which is reserved for extradition and terrorism cases.
Toma faces extradition back to Bulgaria, where he would have to continue a prison sentence imposed for his criticism of the government .
The Roma in Bulgaria make up 8% of the population, live mostly in segregated neighborhoods and are suffering 70% unemployment. In this condition of social exclusion, Roma activists are subject to judicial and police persecution, as well as organised violence from nationalist and racist movements, in particular the Atak Party. That is why we believe it is unsafe for Toma and his wife and children to return to Bulgaria. We appeal to the Westminster Magistrates’ Court to dismiss the extradition proceedings brought by the Bulgarian state and allow Toma Nikolaev to remain in the UK, where he wishes to apply for political asylum.
We hope there will be a just and humanitarian verdict in the case of Toma.
We want Toma Nikolaev to have the right to stay in Britain and not be extradited to Bulgaria because there his freedom and life is in danger.
We appeal to:
- the Westminster Magistrates’ Court
- the Government and Parliament of the United Kingdom
- the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres
- the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay
- the European Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks
- the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz