site.btaProsecutors Ask Court to Outlaw Two Non-Profits for Inciting Ethnic, Religious Animosity

Prosecutors Ask Court to Outlaw Two Non-Profits for Inciting Ethnic, Religious Animosity
Prosecutors Ask Court to Outlaw Two Non-Profits for Inciting Ethnic, Religious Animosity
The Varna District Prosecution Office (BTA Photo)

The Varna District Prosecution Office has asked the Varna District Court to order a cessation of the operation of two non-profit associations whose activities are directed against the sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of the nation and towards incitement of ethnic or religious animosity, the Bulgarian prosecution service said in a press release on Wednesday.

The associations in question are the Shipka Bulgarian National Movement and the Vasil Levski Bulgarian Militant Union, registered in Varna in 2014 and directed by three men, identified in the press release by their initials: D.S., aged 62, V.R., aged 65, and I.L., aged 30.

According to the Register of Non-Profit Legal Persons, the Shipka National Movement is chaired by Diko Sokolov who, together with Vladimir Rusev and Ivo Lazov, are on the Governing Board of the Vasil Levski Bulgarian Militant Union.

"The two organizations have used social media and websites to reach like-minded people and have enlisted supporters for their ideas by means of various publications," the prosecution services said. "According to the associations' statutes, their official objectives are to promote and assert spiritual values, civil society, healthcare, education, science, culture, technologies, physical culture and other patriotic-oriented activities."

At the same time, however, their attempts to uplift the Bulgarian spirit in their website publications and social media profiles were found to violate a constitutional provision which prohibits "any organizations whereof the activity is prejudicial to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bulgaria or to the unity of the nation, or which seek to incite racial, national, ethnic or religious animosity, or to violate citizens' rights and liberties, as well as any organizations which establish clandestine or para-military structures or seek to accomplish the purposes thereof by violence," the prosecution service said.

"Checking the operation of the associations, the Varna District Prosecution Office detected texts instilling religious- and ethnic-based hatred and calling for mob justice against foreign nationals and members of specified ethnic and religious groups. Information has been collected about the associations having organized peculiar trainings for supporters to master certain martial skills. It was further established that they had organized visits to the border of the Republic of Bulgaria with the Republic of Turkiye for the purpose of capturing illegal migrants. No information is available about the impact of that vigilante patrolling," the press release says.

"Besides this, the leaders of the two associations maintained contacts with factions in the Federal Republic of Germany and more specifically with individuals known for their far right views," the prosecution service pointed out.

In its coverage of the story, www.dnevnik.bg described the two associations as "pro-Kremlin para-military organizations". The news website reported that the Shipka Bulgarian National Movement "officially recruits people for inclusion in squads in support of Russia. In the course of years, it has been spreading pro-Putin propaganda against Ukraine."

www.dnevnik.bg recalls that several years ago the German public-service television broadcaster ZDF aired a report on a Shipka movement training near the Bulgarian-Turkish border in which a man in khaki and with his face obscured was giving instructions in Russian. The organization's leader, Vladimir Rusev, explained to the German TV crew that the para-military groups under his command were trained by Russian instructors free of charge.

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By 13:52 on 17.06.2024 Today`s news

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