Romani Teenager Beaten to Death
20 November 2007
The Czech Republic-based Romani news agency Romea reported on 22 August 2007 that a Romani teenager died during a fight in the Bulgarian town of Samokov. It was stated that two groups of teenagers got into a verbal fight that escalated into a brawl. Two people were injured and one of them, 17-year old Romani youth Asparuh Ivov Atanasov, died. Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that his killing was protested by some 1,000 Roma in the streets of Samokov.
Samokov authorities were quoted as having stated that the incident in which the teenager was killed was not based on any ethnic prejudice. However, the Bulgarian news agency Mediapool quoted psychologist Hristo Monov stating that the Bulgarian teenagers attacked the Romani youth because "they thought that Gypsies must not be let into the central part of the town." Two of the perpetrators were detained and an investigation was launched, whilst the two other people involved in the fight that are minors, were released on bail. The detainees had just turned 18 years old in 2007. Coupled with the riots in mid-August in Sofia, it is evident that the killing of the Romani teenager signals a rise in ethnic tensions in Bulgaria.
(AFP, Mediapool, Romea)