12 November 2009

Interesting Case From Bulgaria

In Atanasova v HMP Holloway & Anor [2009] EWHC 2740 (Admin) a woman claims that her former boss, a public prosecutor in Bulgaria called Filchev put her in fear of her life.

"At about midnight Filchev appeared at the door of the room I was being held in. I was so scared when I saw him, I had a panic attack. It was the end of me mentally. Filchev asked the guard in the room not to let anyone else come in. Filchev took out his pistol and placed it on the desk on the room. He played with it on the table. He asked if I realised who I was dealing with, why I did not understand and said that I needed to be taught a lesson. He shouted that I was nobody and nobody would take my words against his. I was so frightened; I was crying and pleading with him to forgive me, promising I would never say anything about him again. Filchev held his gun against my forehead; I felt the cold metal on my skin. I was terrified and I wet myself. Filchev threatened that I was, "on the way to being at the end of a bullet and that no one would know where I was". He said there would be no record of his visit to the police station. He wanted to know whom I had spoken to about him. I said I had told nobody, I begged him for mercy. He told me this was my last chance and that if I put a foot wrong again I would be "out of the game". I was so frightened, I was sobbing. He left the room, smiling. He seemed to enjoy terrorising me."

She doesn't want to return to Bulgaria: this case was her fight against extradition.

The extradition application was found to have been made on the basis of bad faith (oseef s11(3) of the Extradition Act 1989): she was not extradited.

It wasn't clear whether or not she would have been extradited under more recent legislation, the 2003 Act.

A further point; as I was reading the case I thought of the smug bigots who claim that stories such as this should be dismissed as conspiracy theory.

Lastly, a related case of interest.
Kolevi v. Bulgaria (application no. 1108/02)
Violations of Article 2 (right to life) and Article 5 §§ 1, 3 and 4 (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention on Human Rights

This time from Strasbourg. As for Filchev, last I heard, he was the Ambassador for Kazakstan.

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