On How Bulgaria’s Corrupt Authorities Abuse Interpol’s Red Notice for Violent Political Vendettas


Hello! My name is Radosveta Vassileva and I am a legal scholar based in the UK. I happen to be a Bulgarian national. Recently, in August 2017, I visited my parents in Serbia for my father’s birthday. My parents are refugees there—they have been politically persecuted by Bulgaria as my father exposed corruption at the highest levels of government. When I went to register with the Serbian police as any foreigner who intends to stay in Serbia for more than one day is obliged to have a registration, the officer told me politely that they had to arrest me because Bulgaria had put me on Interpol’s Red Notice list. Needless to say, I was stunned and horrified. How did a young legal scholar and doctor of law end up on this “special” list, but most of all—how is it possible for a European Union Member State to abuse European legal instruments and Interpol’s Red Notice list to target political and economic opponents? If you are curious, keep reading! This is a story of violent abuse of law and human rights by corrupt Bulgarian officials. This is a frightening tale of how Bulgaria’s corrupt authorities can put you on Interpol’s Red Notice list even before they bring nonsensical charges against you and before they summon you in violation of both Bulgarian and European law! Yes, they are that arrogant, ruthless, and vengeful. Read More

Vlog Post: The Horrifying Reality of Bulgarian Custodial and Detention Facilities

How does Bulgaria, which currently presides the Council of the EU, treat detainees and prisoners? The short answer is like a dictatorship.

In my article “Hell is Closer than the EU Thinks: On Torture and Other Human Rights Abuses in Bulgarian Custodial and Detention Facilities,” I raised concern that Bulgaria has not made any progress in the area of prison conditions for the past twenty years. The picture is rather gloomy: deliberate physical ill-treatment, rampant corruption, deteriorating material conditions, etc. This is what reputable international organizations such as the United Nations and the Council of Europe have discovered. Moreover, they concur that the situation has not been addressed in any way by a long line of governments. The European Court of Human Rights has also handed down a series of judgments against Bulgaria, but the country continues to advance in the most non-prestigious ranking — major violator of the European Convention on Human Rights.

It is high time to end this nightmare taking place in an EU member. #SayNoToAbuse

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Hell Is Closer than the EU Thinks: On Torture and Other Human Rights Abuses in Bulgarian Custodial and Detention Facilities

Do you know there is currently a hunger strike at the Sofia prison – the largest detention facility in Bulgaria? Do you know why?

Let’s take a step back.

In December 2017, the UN Committee Against Torture published its observations on the sixth periodic report on Bulgaria (CAT/C/BGR/CO/6). This highly disturbing document neither received extensive media coverage in Bulgaria nor stirred the social and political debate it should have. Indeed, if one takes the time to read the UN report, one may wonder how these persistent abuses, which blatantly violate international and European legal instruments and rules,[1] take place in a member state of the European Union (EU). While Bulgaria is not the only EU country that faces such challenges, it stands out because of the scale and severity of the problem as well as the unwillingness of a long line of governments to take action beyond empty promises – as explained below, reputable international organizations, including the Council of Europe, argue that Bulgaria has not made any progress in the last 20 years.

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Vlog Post: #eu2018bg Some Realism about Bulgaria’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union

In December 2017, shortly before the Bulgarian government officially announced its priorities for its Presidency of the Council of the EU, I published a blog post entitled ‘The Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU: The Emperor Has No Clothes.’ I explained why it is troublesome that a state which repeatedly violates EU law and struggles with corruption would set the agenda of the Council and why it has no capacity to lead in any of the areas it chose to focus on during the Presidency.

Following the inauguration of the Presidency, reputable international media opted for the same angle. Journalists from the UK, Spain, Germany, Denmark, etc. were also troubled by the challenges Bulgaria faces regarding the rule of law, its shrinking economy, and its demographic crisis. In fact, a recent UN report shows Bulgaria has the fastest shrinking population in the world. This is not surprising given the inadequate policies of a long line of governments.

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Видео пост: #eu2018bg Малко реализъм относно европредседателството

В началото на декември 2017 г., малко преди българското правителство да обяви официално приоритетите си за европредседателството, публикувах блог поста си “Българското председателство на Съвета на ЕС – хубави ли са новите дрехи на царя?”. В него обясних защо е обезпокоително, че държава, която тенденциозно нарушава европейското право и не може да се справи с войнстващата корупция, ще определя дневния ред на Съвета, както и защо няма капацитет да бъде лидер в нито една от сферите, които е обявила за приоритетни.

Покрай старта на европредседателството, уважавани световни медии публикуваха статии с подобни заключения. Журналисти от Великобритания, Испания, Дания и др. са притеснени, че в България няма върховенство на закона, че икономиката й се свива, че демографските показатели на страната не са добри. В интерес на истината, съвсем наскоро доклад на ООН определи България като държавата с най-бързо намаляващото население в света. Тези изводи не са изненадващи на фона на неадекватната политика на серия от правителства.

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The Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU: The Emperor Has No Clothes

As you may or may not know, every six months one of the Member States of the European Union assumes the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union (also known as Council of Ministers). In practice, this means that the current government of the presiding Member State determines the agenda of the aforementioned Council, sets a work program aimed at enhancing the policies of the European Union, and chairs the planned meetings.

Politicians diplomatically say that this is an occasion for each Member State to exercise leadership and to promote policies it is truly committed to. The sad reality, however, is that it has very little significance. When Malta, for example, was presenting the report on its Presidency before the European Parliament in July 2017, only about 30 out of the 751 Members of the European Parliament attended the sitting. The President of the European Commission famously told the European Parliament: “You are ridiculous…If [Malta’s PM] was Ms Merkel or Mr Macron, we would have a full house.” Read More

Българското председателство на Съвета на ЕС – хубави ли са новите дрехи на царя?

Както може би вече знаете покрай усилената PR кампания в България, на всеки шест месеца една от държавите-членки на Европейския съюз поема ротационното председателство на Съвета на Европейския съюз (известен също като Съвет на министрите). На практика това означава, че правителството на съответната държава-членка определя дневния ред на Съвета, разработва работна програма и води планираните заседания.

Западните политици дипломатично казват, че председателството дава шанс на държавите-членки да покажат лидерски способности и да насърчават политики, които смятат за приоритетни. Тъжната реалност обаче е, че така нареченото „европредседателство“ има много малко значение. Когато например Малта представяше доклада за своето председателство пред Европейския парламент през юли 2017 г., само 30 от 751-те Евродепутати присъстваха на заседанието. Председателят на Европейската комисия Юнкер тогава изригна: „Смешни сте … Ако вместо Премиера на Малта, тук бяха г-жа Меркел или г-н Макрон, всички щяхте да присъствате“. Read More

Vlog Post: How Bulgaria Retaliated Against an Application under the US Magnitsky Act

In my article “How to Purge a Scholar? A Guide to Bogus Interpol Notices from Bulgaria,” which was covered by mainstream Bulgaria media and read tens of thousands of times, I showcased Bulgaria’s deliberate abuse of Interpol notices for political aims. In addition to the frightening Red Notice, which Bulgaria’s prosecution uses to publicly lynch inconvenient people, Bulgarian authorities have added a new tool in their rich arsenal for political repression–Interpol’s Diffusion notice. Read More

Видео пост: Браудър, Магнитски и две “Дифузии”

В моята статия „Как да затриете учен? Прокурорско ръководство по свинщина“, която бе широко отразена в българските медии и прочетена десетки хиляди пъти, обърнах внимание на грубата злоупотреба на българската прокуратура с бюлетините на Интерпол. Освен прословутата „Червена бюлетина“, която прокуратурата използва най-вече за публично линчуване на неудобни хора, българските власти са прибавили и ново попълнение в зловещия си арсенал за политическа репресия – така наречената „Дифузия“. Read More

How to Purge a Scholar? A Guide to Bogus Interpol Notices from Bulgaria

When I read that Russia issued an Interpol warrant for Bill Browder for the fifth time, I was deeply disturbed. Author of Red Notice, Bill Browder campaigns actively against authoritarianism. He lobbied the US Congress to enact the Global Magnitsky Act, which allows the US Government to sanction foreign government officials implicated in human rights abuses. The Magnitsky Act made Russian officials quite upset: they have been trying to trap Mr. Browder via Interpol for a while. Read More

Как да затриете учен? Прокурорско ръководство по свинщина

Когато прочетох, че Русия е издала бюлетина на Интерпол на Бил Браудър за пети път, се шокирах. Както е добре известно, Браудър е автор на книгата „Заповед за арест“ и води мащабна кампания срещу авторитаризма в Русия. Браудър също така лобира за приемането на прословутия закон „Магнитски“, който позволява на САЩ да санкционира корумпирани държавни служители, които нарушават човешките права. Разбира се, това не се харесва на руската прокуратура, която от дълго време се опитва да организира капан на Браудър чрез Интерпол. Read More

Видео пост: Моята петиция в подкрепа на жалбата по закона “Магнитски”

Както е добре известно, през август 2017 г. стартирах петиция в подкрепа на жалбата на Цветан Василев по закона “Магнитски”. Изключително съм благодарна на всички смели хора, които я разписаха!

Същевременно вярвам, че повече хора трябва да научат за безпрецедентното поругаване на човешките права в България. Законът „Магнитски“ дава уникален шанс да се даде урок на тези, които злоупотребяват с власт, тъй като санкционира конкретните държавни служители, които нарушават човешките права. Не е случайно, че прокуратурата ми повдигна абсурдно обвинение само три дни, след като баща ми подаде жалбата в САЩ, а жълтите медии бълват нелепици за баща ми и семейството ми непрестанно. Read More

Vlog Post: My Petition in Support of Tzvetan Vassilev’s Application under the US Magnitsky Act

In August 2017, I started a petition in support of my father’s application under the US Magnitsky Act. I am eternally grateful to everyone who signed it!

At the same time, I believe I should raise more awareness about the unprecedented abuses of human rights in Bulgaria, which is a failed state despite the fact that it is a member of the European Union. My father has been prosecuted for political reasons because he exposed corruption on a massive scale. The US Magnitsky Act gives a unique opportunity to sanction corrupt government officials implicated in human rights abuses. It is not only a chance for justice for my family, but also a chance to save Bulgaria’s fragile democracy by sanctioning the concrete individuals implicated in the abuses. Read More

Моят първи видео пост: „Съвременните европейски диктатури и двойните стандарти на ЕС“

Когато стартирах моя блог radosvetavassileva.blog преди два месеца, завърших първия си пост със следните думи: „Целият свят ще научи за безчинствата на българската мафия и целият свят ще гледа нейния неизбежен разпад! Прожекторите вече светят!“. Много се радвам, че моят блог вече има над 14 000 посещения, въпреки опитите за заглушаване. Искрено благодаря на читателите, които се вълнуват от „другата“ гледна точка, за доверието. Благодаря и на смелите хора, които разписаха моята петиция в подкрепа на жалбата на баща ми по закона „Магнитски“. Благодаря също така и на тези, които следят семейството ми в Туитър: @Radosveta_vass, @AnVassileva, @TzvetVassilev.

Както гласи един американски цитат, за който някои твърдят, че е на Ейбръхам Линкълн – „Можеш да лъжеш някои хора през цялото време и можеш да лъжеш всички хора през част от времето, но няма как да лъжеш всички хора през цялото време“. Истината е като шило и ще намери начин да излезе от чувала, независимо колко стегнато е завързан. Read More

My First Vlog Post: “The Rise of Modern Dictatorships and EU’s Dual Standards”

When I launched radosvetavassileva.blog two months ago, I ended my first blog post with the following words: “The whole world will learn about the crimes Bulgaria’s mafia has committed and the whole world will be watching its imminent demise! The lights are on!”. I am very happy to share that my blog has already more than 14 000 viewers. I really want to thank my readers for their interest in my point of view. I also want to thank everyone who signed my petition in support of my father’s application under the US Magnitsky Act. Many thanks to those who follow my family on Twitter too! If you have not done so, you can find us @Radosveta_vass, @AnVassileva, @TzvetVassilev.

As one famous quote, which is often attributed to Abraham Lincoln, goes: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” No matter how hard some people try to suffocate the truth, it will come out. Read More

The Rise of Modern European Dictatorships and EU’s Dual Standards on Human Rights

While most Western commentators focus on Brexit, something much more troublesome is taking place on the East end of the European Union (EU)—the rise of modern European “dictatorships.” Many former-communist countries, which are now members of the EU, are restoring the repressive practices typical of times gone by. In 2015, for instance, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker famously greeted Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban with “Hello, dictator.” Whereas Juncker was probably trying to demonstrate his famous awkward sense of humor, the joke is on millions of EU citizens whose fundamental rights are consistently abused by East European “dictators” like Orban. Paradoxically, nonetheless, these modern dictators have more tools in their arsenal for targeting political and economic opponents compared to their communist predecessors—European law and international treaties. In other words, you have failed democracies which misuse national and supranational legal instruments alike for political vendettas and often—purges.

While Hungary is one of the examples which is often discussed in the media, by far, it is not the only EU state, which suffers from a democratic deficit. Although contexts differ, democratic values are also challenged in Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland, etc. What is striking and worrisome, however, is EU institutions’ dual standards on the rule of law and human rights, in particular. Read More