President of Bulgarian Helsinki Committee assaulted in Sofia, says it was retribution for his human rights work
The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) reports that Krasimir Kanev, the president of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC), an independent human rights NGOs, was assaulted in Sofia yesterday. Kanev told the BIRN he was attacked in the morning in front of the Radisson Hotel by two men whom he did not recognize who punched him in the face and stomach before fleeing the scene.
Police arrived 15 minutes later, the news server reports. Kanev told BIRN that such incidents against him have increased over the last two years.
Bulgaria's center-right coalition government currently includes the nationalist Patriotic Front party, and Kanev told BIRN that he believes that fact is why he has been subjected to physical violence recently. The group has frequently accused the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee of being "anti-national".
The European Grassroots Antiracism Movement (EGAM) tweeted its condemnation of the attack and expressed solidarity with the BHC. The group most recently released a report on 24 October on the overcrowded, vermin-infested, violent environment of Bulgaria's prisons, discussing how the country has responded to the European Court of Human Rights judgment last year that found serious human rights violations due to structural problems with the entire penitentiary system.
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