Roma attacked in Bulgaria

10 April 2001

The Sofia-based non-governmental organisation Human Rights Project (HRP) has reported that on December 2, 2000, a group of Bulgarian youths attacked and vandalised at least three Romani houses in the village of Oryahovitsa, Pleven region. Mrs Zhivka Simeonova, 44, and her husband, Mr Misho Simeonov, 48, told the HRP that at approximately 1:00 AM, the attackers broke into their house. Mr and Mrs Simeonov were able to recognise among them a Bulgarian fellow villager. The attackers beat them with metal bars and sticks and destroyed furniture and household objects. According to Mr and Mrs Simeonov, after leaving their house, the attackers set off to a neighbouring Romani house. As a result of the beating, Zhivka Simeonova sustained wounds to the head and Misho Simeonov suffered a fracture of the right elbow. On December 12, 2000, both of the victims filed complaints with the Pleven District Prosecutor’s Office. As of April 18, 2001, no decision had been issued in the case.

Mr Danail Danailov, a Romani man from Oryahovitsa and witness to the attack, told the HRP on December 2, 2000, that he believed the attack had been instigated by the Mayor of the village. Mr Danailov alleged that in October 2000, on his way home, he saw the Mayor, Mr Marin Mladenov, talking to fellow villagers in front of a house. Mr Danailov reportedly heard the Mayor saying that the Roma should not be allowed to remain in the village any more. Mr Danailov allegedly confronted the mayor, accusing him of fuelling anti-Romani attitudes in the village. Following the attack, on December 7, 2000, Mr Danailov filed a complaint with the Pleven District Prosecutor’s Office, stating that the mayor of Oryahovitsa was responsible for the attack on the Romani families. According to the HRP, there are six Romani families in the village of Oryahovitsa, all of whom moved to the village from the town of Podem, Pleven region, in 1991, following pogroms and arson attacks on Romani houses in that town.



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