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International Communist and Labor Press

Abstract based on the article “Kilograms of wiretaps including diplomats”

Translated Wednesday 23 August 2017, by Nicola Miguleuff

The Report in the Sofia Court has opened the Pandora’s Box. Foreign citizens and diplomats were wiretapped. The Sofia Court gave the illegal permission for using special intelligence means (SIM) in the period from 2009 up to 2015. It was admitted in the 68 page report published on April 4 on the website of the Court.

Fifty-two criminal cases connected with surveillance, wiretapping and other operational actions were described in this report. At least nine diplomatic missions and their staff, military attaché and first secretaries of the Embassy were under surveillance. There were some cases when two Bulgarian intelligence services worked on the same diplomat. More than twenty diplomats were wiretapped in different periods, some of them – on a permanent basis. These cases violated the Vienna Convention.

Many permissions on wiretapping were issued when the head of the Sofia Court was Vladimir Yanev. Оne of the pemissions for long-term wiretapping of the diplomatic mission was issued personally by him (case № 416/2015 in the report). At that time Alexander Tsvetanov, Svetlin Yovchev worked in the administration and in the Ministry of home affairs and Blush Bychkova, Nikolai Mladenov, Daniel Mitov worked in the Ministry of foreign affairs.

Special attention was given to foreign citizens and diplomats related to Russian Bulgarian energetic projects “South Stream” and “Belene”. The current head of the Court Kaloyan Topalov replying to the question whether the representatives of Russian companies and Russian journalists were wiretapped said: “The only thing that I can do, is neither to agree, nor to deny this fact”.

The intelligence service was interested in the following people: the head of company “South Stream of Bulgaria”. (case № 461/2015), an employee of the trade commission, (case №739/2015), two diplomats responsible for energetics in the Embassy of Russia (cases № 293/2015 и 294/2015), a Russian journalist (614/2015 and 798/2015), an employee of Aeroflot (cases №251/2015 and 597/2015), a secretary on economic issues and commerce of the Chinese Embassy (case № 403/2015), high ranking Iranian diplomat. (cases 189/2015 and 550 /2015) The list of target countries (Russia, China and Iran) is specific. No wiretaps were done in the interests of Bulgaria itself, but they were done for the sake of economic interests of a country that is situated across the ocean.

The Sofia Court had an uncontrolled channel of issuing permissions on illegal wiretapping. They gave 3579 permissions in 2014, 3677 in 2009, more than 6000 in 2010 and 2011. The number of refusals on wiretapping was very small, from 2 up to 30.

In his interview, Kaloyan Topalov said that there was such an investigation in many other courts, but that violations were not found, or at least nobody told about them in public. But inside the system staff reported that there were violations. According to him the court system is a kind of organized crime group. Many people inside it prefer to write their opinion in forums, but never speak in public. This is a problem that, on the one hand, they are afraid, and on the other hand, there is great apathy and everyone is interested only in his own business. He is convinced that there are problems all over the country in the courts, there is a chaos in court system, and that now they are very far from any deep changes in the court system.

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