“This is an outrageous, shocking and unconstitutional speech” commented to Mediapool constitutionalists and human rights activists in response to Prime Minister Oresharski declaration to dismiss civil servants protesting against the government. Equally outrageous was his statement that certain individuals presence at protests is being followed and recorded and their political views would become a cause for retaliation.
Attorney general, Michael Ekimdjiev, from the “Association for European Integration and Human Rights” urged the Attorney General to be aware of the “criminal” intentions of the Prime Minister and described his remarks as a direct order to commit a legal offense and abuse of power.
In regards to the Prime Minister’s statement that personal identity data is being collected during the protests (clearly by no other party but the Interior Ministry and secret services), Alexander Kashumov attorney general from “Access to Information” group reminded the authorities that collecting and processing information related to the political views of the people is illegal and against the constitutional rights of the people. Georgi Bliznashki, former constitutional judge and professor of constitutional law at the University of Sofia, further confirmed that Oresharski’s threat to action is entirely unconstitutional.
Aside from raising alerts of intended crime, Oresharski’s statement contradicts basic state laws and is in stark contrast to all major documents of the EU and the Council of Europe.
Attorney General must intervene
“This statement is scandalous and shocking” The Attorney General is required to interfere immediately and interrupt the abuse of power by the Prime Minister, and potentially some of his ministers, “said Michael Ekimdjiev, attorney. He noted that per the Bulgarian Constitution, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and basic Fundamental Freedoms, government officials have the right to peaceful assembly and participation in peaceful protests and demonstrations. Furthermore he emphasized that the Prime Minister’s statement is punishable under Section 169 “b” and 169 “c” of the Bulgarian Criminal Code. The section clearly states that individuals “who use violence, intimidation or other manners of illegally preventing someone’s right to exercise their constitutional political views shall be punished by imprisonment of up to three years or a fine of one hundred to three lev.” In the case that the offense is committed by a public official, in the case of Oresharski, the penalty is increased to five years in prison. ” The Attorney General has always expressed his readiness to defend citizens’ rights and fundamental freedom. He went on to state that the Prime Minister’s recent comments reminded him of the “sociopathic” statement to “clear away” teacher protesters during the time Oresharski was Minister of Finance. “It seems that sociopathic insensibility leading to ignorance of basic constitutional rights and democratic principles has been elevated to a cult of his rule or alternatively is viewed necessary as a means of remaining in power at any cost.
This statement could not belong to a European Prime Minister
“Such statement couldn’t possibly be made a Prime Minister of a European country”, said Mr. Alexander Kashumov representing “Access to Information” group. He pointed out that Oresharski’s statement directly violates Art. 10 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms art. 39 of the Bulgarian Constitution. Kashumov recalled that in 2003 the draft Code of Conduct for government employees purposefully excluded paragraphs referring to the employees freedom to openly express their political views. “It was after the intervention of a number of NGOs, including the program” Access to Information ” that the Code now allows officials to openly express their political views.
Attorney Kashumov was openly scandalized by the confession that people participating in the protests are monitored and profiled based on their political views. “Political views are sensitive information and it is illegal to be collected and stored by the authorities. If this is done, then there is a violation of the Bulgarian Constitution, laws, Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and EU directives. In just a few sentences the Prime Minister has made a number of bold violations of fundamental norms“.
The Prime Minister’s intentions contradict the Convention on Freedom of Association, adopted in 1948 by the General Conference of the International Labour Organisation. Bulgaria ratified this Convention since the time of Communism in 1959.
He further stated that every Bulgarian citizen, including government officials, has civil rights. Every one has the right to participate in the protests, according to his own conscience and beliefs. These protests are civil and not organized by political parties and everyone involved in them has a right to express their attitude towards today’s illegitimate and corrupt government. He further noted that citizens take to the streets to defend the values they believe in, their dignity, and any attempt to repression by the government, including firing people is unconstitutional. “We expect government employees to be loyal to the state, but they do not have to like the government “Oligarski.” Quite the contrary. it is the duty of every honest and decent Bulgarian citizen to oppose with all legitimate means today’s government, which was conceived in sin and remains in power despite the will of the overwhelming majority of Bulgarian citizens“ said Bliznashki.
Translation – Protestna Mrezha