TO 'GIVE' SOMEONE TO A PROSECUTOR

by Stamen Manolov

Even the emotionally inundated by over 10 years of Boyko Borisovisms citizens of Bulgaria are finding it hard to believe what they are seeing: the deputy chief prosecutor "gives" his boss, the chief prosecutor, to a... prosecutor (as Sega, one of the few independent newspapers, put it).

ivan geshev.jpg

What led to that is so complicated and absurd that analysts find it difficult to explain while ordinary people prefer just to laugh it off. Here is the story briefly.

In his attempt to form a government Boyko Borisov, who won the April 2023 election, recalled Maria Gabriel, a GERB functionary serving as a commissioner for innovation and research (!) in the European Commission, to place a bid to form a government. Gabriel, Borisov hoped, would be seen as pretty innocuous but would remain loyal to him. One of the first things Gabriel did when she touched the ground back home was to assert she would demand the removal of Ivan Geshev, the chief prosecutor. The removal of the chief prosecutor has been the top priority of the Changes Continued-Democratic Bulgaria alliance, the second largest party in the National Assembly. They see him as nothing but an "umbrella" to protect Borisov from prosecution for the many crimes and misdemeanours they claim Borisov committed while in office.

A week previously Geshev was reported as the target of a failed bomb assault. As the news of the incident spread, various officials, including Geshev's deputy and the interior minister, produced very conflicting accounts of the event.

After Gabriel's pronouncement, Boyko Borisov said he was just an MP, and the Geshev episode was entirely the mindwork of Gabriel.

Geshev wrote his resignation, called a press conference, and tore it in pieces.

His deputy, previously seen as his zealous righthand-man, "gave" his boss to a prosecutor, and demanded police protection saying he feared for his life. In turn Geshev also "gave" his deputy to a prosecutor.

The position of the Bulgarian chief prosecutor – roughly equivalent to the director of public prosecutions in the UK and to the attorney general in the United States – is at least odd because the Constitution envisages no regulation and no means to control whoever is appointed. Since the dawn of democracy, chief prosecutors in Bulgaria – Ivan Tatarchev, Nikola Filchev and Sotir Tsatsarov, to name a few – have been criticised by various political groupings and for various reasons for failing to do their legal jobs while seeking to further their own, usually corrupt, political agendas.

All of the above might become slightly clearer if one were to understand the pithiness of the Bulgarian saying "I will give you to a prosecutor." This is a kind of everyday language threat that has gained significant popularity in post-Communist Bulgaria. It does not mean you are guilty of anything, neither that any justice will be served upon you. It means if they start dealing with you, the prosecution service will make life hell for you for an indefinite period of time and with an unclear result. So, watch out lest you get "given" to a Bulgarian prosecutor!

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