Romani Pupil Physically Abused by School Teacher in Bulgaria

According to information received from the Sofia-based non-governmental organisation Human Rights Project (HRP), on May 22, 2003, Assen Iliyanov Todorov, a 13-year-old Romani boy and student at the "Romani" school in the northern Bulgarian village Bukovlak, was physically abused by his teacher, Mr Yakimov. According to Assen's testimony to the HRP, during a music class during which the children were instructed to discuss "black music", the children were reprimanded by Mr Yakimov for having engaged in a noisy discussion. Soon thereafter, the discussions resumed, and Mr Yakimov banged his fist on the table and moved toward Assen. Assen stated that Mr Yakimov pulled him out of his desk and, while dragging him out of the classroom, began to repeatedly hit him on the back of his neck in front of the entire class. In the corridor, Assen testified, Mr Yakimov punched him in the stomach. On the day of the incident, Assen's parents, 37-year-old Mr Ilian Mitkov Todorov and 33-year-old Ms Rositsa Assenova Todorova, took Assen to the hospital for medical treatment, and according to a medical certificate issued on May 22, 2003, Assen sustained several wounds on his back and chest. Mr Todorov and Ms Todorova reportedly filed a complaint with the Pleven local court, with assistance from the HRP. As of January 8, 2004, there had been no response from the Regional Prosecutor's Office.

(ERRC, HRP, Standard)

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