In a statement on Saturday National Assembly Chair Iva Miteva said she will convene an extraordinary parliamentary sitting on August 17 in connection with a video of police brutality during last year’s anti-government protests.
The video, shown in Parliament on Friday, caused shock and a wave of comments both on social networks and among politicians, who on Saturday described the footage as “harrowing” and called for those to blame to be held accountable.
An ad hoc committee probing possible police brutality during the2020 protests against the previous government and against corruption, screened Friday security camera footage showing police kicking and punching detained protestors by the government building in central Sofia. Lawyers and magistrateshave been searching for more than a year to find exactly this footage from the night of July 10, 2020 from a security camera of the National Protection Service.
National Protection Service chief Emil Tonev had denied havingany security camera footage from that night and that spot. His deputy subsequently said that they can only give the video tothe national security authorities. This video was found sitting in a drawer in a Sofia Directorate of the Interior office and was made available to the ad hoc committee after the interference of caretaker Interior Minister Boyko Rashkov.
Nikolai Hadzhigenov MP of Rise Up BG! Here We Come!, who chairs the ad hoc committee, but before being elected to Parliament was the legal representative of a protestor who complained of police violence, said that whoever is responsible for concealing the video, was an accomplice in a crime. He said President Rumen Radev and caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Yanev owe an answer about how long they intend to keep Emil Tonev as head of the National Protection Service.
He said it was a crime that the checks of the prosecution service and the Interior Ministry found no police brutality.
Hadzhigenov also said that because of that camera footage former interior minister Mladen Marinov, who is an MP of the formerly ruling GERB party now, has been sent to Parliament to avoid prosecution through his MP immunity.
Hadzhigenov noted there are more videos his committee is yet to watch.