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Eavesdropping scandal in Bulgaria: Commission must investigate

Date

24 Jan 2011

Sections

Justice & Home Affairs

The ALDE group has tabled today a parliamentary question to the Commission asking clarifications over the recent scandal associated to the escalating application of the Bulgarian law on the use of special intelligence that is not in line with the Bulgarian Constitution, the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty, the ECHR and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights.

ALDE MEP Stanimir Ilchev (NMSP, Bulgaria) said "The current Bulgarian scandal over the escalating use of Special Intelligence Means is a stain on the image of Bulgaria in the same way as the Hungarian media law this week taints the international image of that country. The data collected from the special services in Bulgaria is leaking widely and the only independent mechanism for control over the special services has been abolished. There is a widespread paranoia spreading amongst Bulgarian society. The European Commission should step in and uphold the rights of Bulgarian citizens under EU law before this situation gets out of hand."

The current Law on the use of Special Intelligence Means stipulates that eavesdropping on private citizens can be used only in order to fight organised crime or to protect national security and that tapping the phone of individuals can only be requested by public prosecutors or by various law enforcement agencies, if they suspect that the person in question is involved in criminal activity. In either case, the information collected shall be kept secret and used only for the purposes outlined in the law. However, many recent cases of eavesdropping suggest that there is legal uncertainty and misuse as well as suspected political manipulation of the data.

ALDE MEP Metin Kazak (Movement for Rights and Freedoms, Bulgaria) added "This situation raises serious concerns of fundamental rights of Bulgarian citizens. The country is en route to becoming a "police state". Citizens in Bulgaria are starting to question the correct application of the rule of law, which is a core value in all democracies. The Commission must investigate."

For more information, please contact:
Corlett Neil - Tel:+32 2 284 20 77 Mob:+32 478 78 22 84
Terzi Federica - Tel:+32 2 283 23 24 Mob:+32 494 18 88 31
Web: http://www.alde.eu

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