police and demonstrators

Bulgaria: Human rights judges make €100,000 award after ‘Operation Octopus’ organised crime crackdown

A media-hyped crackdown against Bulgarians suspected of involvement in organised crime, money-laundering and prostitution, led to human rights violations, the European court has ruled.

In its 31 march ruling in the case of Stoyanov and Others v. Bulgaria (no. 55388/10), brought by 10 Bulgarian nationals, the Strasbourg court found breaches of Article 3, Article 6, Article 8 and Article 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

These cases concerned a number of media-hyped police operations, raising issues similar to those examined by the court in the case of Gutsanovi v. Bulgaria (no. 34529/10) regarding the prohibition
of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment (Article 3) and respect for the accused’s presumption of innocence (Article 6 § 2).

Just satisfaction (Article 41)

The court held that Bulgaria was to pay the applicant:

- 30,000 euros (EUR) jointly to Plamen Stoyanov, Petranka Stoyanova and Plamen Plamenov Stoyanov, and 50,000 EUR jointly to Yordan Stoyanov, Antonia Ivanova, Emilia Stoyanova, Monika Stoyanova and Veselin Stoyanov in respect of non-pecuniary damage, and 5,000 EUR for costs and expenses;

- 6,000 EUR to Alexey Petrov in respect of non-pecuniary damage and 3,703.26 EUR for costs and expenses.

- 5,000 EUR to Anton Petrov and 10,000 EUR to Krasimira Ivanova in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

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