Romani Boy Attacked in Bulgaria for Declaring himself Equal

19 April 2016

Sofia, Budapest, 19 April 2016: A 17-year-old Romani boy Mitko from Ovchepoltsi village was brutally beaten yesterday by a 24-year-old man, Angel Kaleev, after telling Kaleev that they are equal, despite their different ethnicities. Kaleev considers himself an ethnic Bulgarian nationalist and filmed the attack himself. The footage features Kaleev’s attack, which he accompanied with a racist rant. During an interview on BTV, a national broadcaster, Kaleev admitted what he did and his racist motivation. According to media sources, Kaleev was arrested today, after hiding from police.

 “This act of violence against a Romani minor is an attack on all Roma and an alarming sign of the increase of hate crimes against us, in Bulgaria and elsewhere. We will be closely watching how the Bulgarian authorities investigate this case” said Đorđe Jovanović, President of the European Roma Rights Centre. “It is time for the Bulgarian authorities to take measures to prevent such incidents from recurring as well as to fully use the justice system to punish such cases of racial abuse targeting Romani individuals. We will be willing to see an adequate indictment under art. 162 of the Penal Code, which prosecutes racially motivated violence and incitement to discrimination” added Daniela Mihailova, of the Equal Opportunities Initiative Association, a Bulgarian NGO.

For further information contact:

Atanas Zahariev
+36 30 500 2026
atanas.zahariev@errc.org

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