ERRC Letter to the Chief Prosecutor of Bulgaria Ivan Tatarchev

03 December 1996

Dear Mr. Tatarchev:

The ERRC received information that on September 12, 1996 Petra Anguelova Stoyanova, 18, was shot and killed by a public guard in the railway station of the town of Rakovski, District Plovdiv.

On September 12, 1996, Petra Stoyanova together with 3 other Roma women and approximately 10 Roma children, all of them from the village of Belozem, District Plovdiv, was cleaning a railway wagon used for transportation of corn, at the railway station in the town of Rakovski. With the consent of the merchant who had rented the wagon to transport corn, they also gathered the corn which had remained in the wagon after it had been unloaded.

When the Roma finished their work and were about to leave the wagon, carrying a few sacks with corn, Mr. Vladimir Karaivanov, an employee of security firm SNEK, hired to guard the railway station, approached the group of Roma cursing and shouting at them. In spite of the fact that the merchant, who was nearby, expressly told the guard that the women had been gathering the corn with his permission, the guard took out his rifle and shot twice with rubber bullets. The first shot was produced in the air while the second one was aimed at the group of Roma who were trying to run away. This second shot, produced from a distance of about 25 meters, hit Petra Stoyanova and knocked her down. Then Mr. Karaivanov rushed to the victim who was still lying on the ground and started knocking and hitting her with the butt of his rifle. Petra Stoyanova managed to stand back on her feet, set herself free and ran away. The guard started chasing her, but when she was at a distance of 25-30 meters away, he fired at her with live bullets and shot her down. Petra Stoyanoa died on the spot.

During the last couple of years, incidents like the one described above had not been an isolated phenomenon in Bulgaria. The ERRC is concerned about a pattern of violence against Roma, which is often motivated by their ethnic origin.

Therefore, the ERRC is urging the Bulgarian judiciary, and he prosecution in particular, to take a clear stand on cases of violence against Roma and especially on cases in which the ethnic origin has played a major role for the victimisation of Roma individuals.

We are urging you to undertake full and thorough investigation on this incident. We hope that you will inform us about the current status and the results of the investigation.

Sincerely yours,

Dimitrina Petrova
Executive Director


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