The site for investigative journalism Bivol.bg, official partner of WikiLeaks for Bulgaria, has received a statement from CRIM about the failed public hearing on the alleged criminal past of Bulgarian Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov.
The statement is signed by the Chair of the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Organized Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering (CRIM), Sonia Alfano, from ALDE, and Rita Borsellino, from S&D. With it, they explain that it is sent in connection with leaked information, published in Bulgarian and international media, wrongly presenting the closed-doors debate.
The MEPs note their disappointment from the misrepresentation, stressing they were present and supported holding a hearing on corruption in EU Member States, including Bulgaria and Italy, but their proposal has been, unfortunately, rejected. Alfano and Borsellino vow to raise the issue before CRIM once again by using all means provided by EP.
At the end of June, Bulgarian journalists requested a check by CRIM on alleged ties of Borisov to the criminal world, linking him to illegal fuel deals, traffic in amphetamines and money laundering, published by Wikileaks.
The alert was carried out by Bivol and human rights activist Petar Pentchev, member of the Association for Free Speech „Anna Politkovskaya.“
After receiving the news, the same journalists sent a letter to Alfano with copies to the Presidents of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, and of EP, Martin Schultz, to express their surprise and disappointment from CRIM leaving their request without consequences.
„We believe that the so-called „Coordinating Council“ has no authority to strike from CRIM’s agenda a well-grounded alert from citizens, who under CRIM’s own definition and goals, represent civil society, working for protecting rights in difficult conditions (http://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/crim/home.html),“ the letter signed by Atanas Tchobanov, Assen Yordanov, and Petar Penchev reads.
The authors remind CRIM that journalist Assen Yordanov is a laureate of the Leipzig Media Foundation special „Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media“ and suffered an attack on his life in 2007 over his professional courage, while Tchobanov and Penchev are members of the Association for Free Speech, Anna Politkovskaya, holder of the „Golden Dove“ prize for human rights, and authors of a number of investigative reports of huge public interest.
„The decision, made in the dark, to ignore our alert, raises doubts of political bargaining and behind-the-scenes games, detrimental to the rights of all European citizens to be informed about the work of the Committee, financed with their money. We believe that only an open MEPs’ vote can make the decision to not or to hold a hearing legitimate,“ the authors continue.
They request from CRIM to provide a hard copy of their first request to all MEPs from CRIM by October 8 2012; to include in the agenda of the open-doors meeting of CRIM on October 15 a debate and an open vote on their hearing request.
They authors further call on all NGOs in the EU, all media and journalists, committed to the fight against corruption and organized crime, placing their lives in real danger, unlike the MEPs from CRIM, to support their request, follow the developments in the case, and voice their positions.