Romani Youth Shot by Police Officer in Bulgaria
10 July 2002
According to a May 8, 2002, report to the ERRC by the Sofia-based non-governmental organisation Human Rights Project (HRP), on February 2, 2002, at approximately 2:00 AM, Stephan Kostov, a 27-year-old Romani man, was shot in the right leg by Police Officer Mihov near the Town of Sliven in eastern Bulgaria. Stephan was going wood picking near the village, together with Roumen Ivanov Borissov, Angel Ivanov Andonov and a youth nicknamed "Myrko", all Romani youths aged 15, when they noticed Officer Mihov approaching on foot. HRP reported that Officer Mihov allegedly told the boys to go back to the village, and when they turned to go back, an elderly man appeared from a cottage near the roadand told Officer Mihov that "boys like these have burgled my neighbour's cottage." Officer Mihov reportedly then pulled his gun and shot Stephan in the leg from approximately one metre away. According to HRP, Officer Mihov then left and the three boys took Stephan to a hospital, where he reportedly stayed for three or four days. At the hospital, Stephan received intensive rehabilitation therapyfor three fractures he received to the inside of his right knee, as a result of the gunshot. At 3:30 PM on February 2, 2002, according to HRP, two police investigators, a photographer and a police sergeant went to the hospital and took the three boys to the scene of the shooting. Following this, the boys were taken to the police station where they were allegedly forced to sign a document that none of them could read, due to their illiteracy.On February 5, 2002, HRP filed a complaint with the Military Prosecutor's Office on behalf of Stephan Kostov. According to HRP, on March 6, 2002, the Regional Military Prosecutor refused to begin an investigation into the shooting. Stephan Kostov did not appeal the decision.
(Human Rights Project)