Bulgaria Pressured Over Nikolaev Case
A British court has given Bulgarian prosecuters a deadline to produce documentary evidence that Toma Nikolaev Mladenov, a leading Roma political activist, still has time to serve in prison as alleged when they filed extradition proceedings against him earlier this year.
At a hearing yesterday (2 July) defence counsel Marc Summers told Westminster Magistrates Court that there was strong reason to believe his client had already completed his sentence before he came to London.
Nikolaev’s arrest on a European warranted took place after he had taken part in a Roma Nation Day protest outside the Bulgarian Embassy, in conjuction with an 8 April Movement demonstration. This included flower laying on the Hyde Park Holocaust Memorial in memory of a score of Roma murdered in Bulgaria during anti- Roma violence across the country.
Last week a bomb seriously injured political activist Malin Iliev (59) outside the offices of the Euroroma party in Sandanski, south-west Bulgaria. A similar attack on the Romani quarter in the town occurred in April this year.
Four men have been arrested, two of whom may have been involved in the earlier incident, according to a police statement.
“I wish to seek asylum in Britain,” Nikolaev said after yesterday’s hearing. “It’s just too dangerous in Bulgaria for people like me who are fighting for full representation for Roma.”
Prosecuters have until 13 August to define from court sources in Sofia exactly how much time, if any, Nikolaev could be compelled to spend in prison should the British court agree to his extradition. A point of law concerning the validity of the European Warrant has also to be decided as Nikolaev was convicted only of a minor public order offence.
The next hearing will take place on 4 September. Should the case not then be dismissed, a final full day’s hearing has been booked for 9 October when it is expected that expert evidence and human rights issues may be raised.
Originally published at: http://www.romabuzzmonitor.net/2012/07/bulgaria-pressured-over-nikolaev-case/