Bulgaria Police Arrests Nationalist Leader on Hooliganism Charge

  • Court to decide on permanent arrest for Attack leader Siderov
  • Arrest warrant is illegal, according to Siderov's lawyer

Bulgarian police arrested Volen Siderov, a lawmaker and chairman of the nationalist Attack party, charging him with hooliganism after a scuffle with students last month.

Siderov and his deputy, Dessislav Chukolov, were detained for 72 hours, the prosecution said on its website on Tuesday. They were accused bursting into the National Academy for Theater and Film Arts in Sofia on Oct. 23 with a television crew of Attack’s Alfa TV, interrupting classes, insulting the students and forcefully taking the mobile phone of a female student, who took pictures of them, the prosecution said. Siderov said he and his fellow party members were looking for a drug dealer in the class.

“The arrest warrant is illegal, as it contains actions that were not described” in the prosecution’s request that Siderov’s parliamentary immunity be stripped, Siderov’s lawyer, Yavor Notev, told reporters in Sofia. “We will appeal the arrest.”

The Sofia City Court is yet to decide whether Siderov and Chukolov, who gave up his parliamentary immunity last week, will remain in detention. They may face three to five years in jail if found guilty. Attack wants the Balkan country to pull out of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and to renegotiate Bulgaria’s European Union membership. It has 11 lawmakers in the 240-member parliament.

Prime Minister Boyko Borissov’s minority cabinet took office a year ago. His Gerb party won the mayoral elections on Oct. 25 in 21 main cities out of 27 regional centers, which shows Gerb increased its support from last year’s snap parliamentary poll.

Siderov, 59, was charged two weeks ago for allegedly hitting a policeman who tried to detain him while the politician was accusing a tobacco shop saleswoman in Sofia of selling narcotics, according to police. He’s also on trial for assaulting a police officer in 2014.

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