Prosecutors from the Supreme Judicial Council slam news media for critical coverage

Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev

The prosecutors from the Supreme Judicial Council issued a declaration this Wednesday condemning the media for attacking the Prosecutor’s Office. The text does not name the news outlets it is referring to. It also fails for say is definite terms what exactly they did wrong. The prosecutors condemn "a series of publications, reports, commentaries and interviews in print and electronic media, which aim to discredit the independence and damage the reputation of the Bulgarian justice system, especially the Prosecutor’s Office."

"We are witnessing an unprecedented pressure and attempt to influence the Prosecutor’s Office by people with large financial recourses at their disposal and against whom [prosecutors] have taken appropriate measures to seek penal responsibility."

The last sentence is telling as it echoes almost word for word the Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev and his team’s own words. Geshev told the Bulgarian National Television earlier this week that his office had become a target of "hybrid attacks" from circles, connected to "the accused [Ivo] Prokopiev, the accused Tsvetan Vassilev [and] marginal organizations, whose interests match those of Vssil Bozhkov."

Ivo Prokopiev owns Economides, the news organization, which publishes some of the most critical outlets of Gehsev and the Prosecutor’s Office in general. Prokopiev is a frequent target both of prosecutors and the Anticorruption Commission: the civil illegal asset confiscation body, which is nearly unaccountable and consistently targets non-government-friendly individuals.

The mention of Bozhkov is likely an answer to bTV reporting that the prosecutors confiscated valuable antiques from his collection by plunking them is racks. bTV cited the museum where the antiques are housed. The museum’s management described investigators’ actions as ‘barbaric’ and ‘monstrous’.  The Prosecutor’s Office denied it dumped the pieces in racks, but took the opportunity to comment that "some media are conducting hybrid warfare against the Prosecutor’s Office, which has taken action against a number of oligarchs."

The prosecutors’ declaration closes with the statement that ‘such actions’ (it is not clear the particular actions this is referring to) "are an explicit demonstration of violation of the constitutionally problemed independence of the justice system and a gross violation of the established standards for objective and independent journalism."

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