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Responding to reports that the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC), the biggest human rights organization in Bulgaria, has been threatened with dissolution after a party in the Bulgarian ruling coalition accused it of “openly anti-Bulgarian activities”, Amnesty International’s Europe Deputy Director Massimo Moratti said:
“This is an unprecedented attempt to silence independent and critical voices by the authorities in Bulgaria. As a member of the European Union, Bulgaria has a responsibility to uphold the rule of law, and we expect the Prosecutor General to firmly reject the request for dissolution.
“The Bulgarian Helsinki Committee is the most respected human rights organisation in Bulgaria. Their work providing capacity-building for judges and prosecutors and legal services to people in need is crucial. Attempts to deregister them for their work are a direct assault on freedom of expression.”
On 30 September, the political party VMRO-BND wrote to Bulgaria’s Prosecutor General to terminate the registration of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee.
It argued that BHC activities, including organizing seminars with prosecutors and judges and representing clients before the European Court of Human Rights and domestic courts, were interfering with judicial independence.