Monday, July 23, 2007

After the murder

On July 17, a Swedish tourist (24) was beaten to death by guards of a disco in the Black Sea resort town of Nesebar. The murder happened in front of policemen who remained idle. The guards themselves were former policemen. The disco owner Venelin Tashev, member of the Nesebar municipality, said he stood behind his employees. The case became known because an eyewitness made a video of the murder with his cell phone camera and gave it to the BTV channel for broadcasting.
The direct murderers are being investigated for manslaughter only and the by-standing policemen will receive only disciplinary punishments (i.e. in the worst case, they will be fired). The first prosecutor in charge of the case "refused the monitor the case, saying that some of the guards at the pub, where the violent scandal unfolded, are former policemen" ( The murdered young man was of Iraqi origin - so was racism involved as well?
You can see a fragment of the video at It shows guards jumping on the victim's head. Children, pregnant women and all people susceptible to shock-induced health problems are strongly advised not to view it. In fact, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. I agree with AngloLibyan that watching videotaped murders on the Web isn't a very good idea (
You would ask, then why put a link to this video?
Because other bloggers who uploaded or linked the video before me received the following threat in anonymous comments (source: Simion Pateev's blog,, translation by me):
"You seem to me an intelligent young man, which means that you shouldn't occupy yourself with stupid things but have fun, like all young people. Seeking sensations is a dangerous sport sometimes, life is also dangerous. Incidents happen, relations and friends are killed. You understand me well, I suppose. It is evident that you are intelligent and will reconsider some things."
I don't know who is behind the threatening comments but it is significant that the police still call the murder "incident" and, while letting murderers do their business, already have a history of intimidating bloggers (see previous post) and writing anonymous comments against the same bloggers (see here the anonymous comment posted on July 14th at 22:15 - it was reported to come from a police department). So if our police want the public trust, they should confront the mutra killers and guarantee freedom of speech, rather than attack it.


programmer craig said...

Hi Maya,

What a shocking incident. I read the link at novinite and it seems that the dead man and his friend supposedly started a brawl in the club, and threatened one of the bouncers with a knife. I don't know if that happened or not, but it seems like the bouncers were able to get the two outside of the club before they began beating them, so it seems logically that the beating was punishment, not self defense. By which I mean, it seems the two were taken from the club successfully (which is the job of a bouncer) and then beaten to "teach them a lesson".

I hope there are convictions. It would set a terrible standard if there aren't. Manslaughter may be the worst crime they can be convicted of, though, unless they can find witnesses that dispute the claims made about the two victims being violent themselves.

As to the policemen who stood by and watched, I hope something worse than just being fired happens! Dereliction of duty and criminal negligence, perhaps? There must be something like that under Bulgarian law?

Maya M said...

Indeed, our law doesn't allow a policeman to stand by and watch as a crime is being done. An ordinary citizen may do this (because of fear for his safety), but a policeman must intervene or else be held responsible. However, our justice system doesn't do its job well. Especially when the perpetrator of a crime has some connection to the police.
I've also read about the claims that the victim or his friend started a brawl and took out a knife. I am not sure to what degree to believe this (and pay attention to it at all). On one side, it is unlikely that a tourist who is just dancing, listening to music and drinking responsibly will be beaten to death; the victim usually does something to trigger the attack.
On the other side, people who "restore order" often say big lies about those who have disrupted that order. I've heard unbelievable lies told by the police after some events which I had witnessed and taken part in. That is, events when all people from the other side are alive and well and can tell their side of the story. Bigger lies are told when the other side cannot speak anymore. Just remember what was said after DeMenezes shooting - he was wearing a heavy coat, he was running away from the police...
On the third side, too many people think that it is wrong to kill (beat, rape, rob...) a flawless person but as soon as he does something wrong, he is to blame for everything that follows. You can read some comments illustrating this viewpoint at
Even if the tourist had taken out a knife, he had been put under control before being killed. He was lying on the ground. This seems to exclude self-defense. After all, security personel is trained and equipped to subdue people in a non-lethal way whenever possible.