Press Review

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Photo: Maria Peeva

Quoting the Interior Ministry, the "Sega" Daily reports that during the past two years in Bulgaria, a total of 821 convicted people fled from justice. Some were later captured and jailed, but nearly half of them are still wanted.

In 2015, the Bulgarian parliament adopted amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code, under which convicted persons banned from leaving the country are issued replacement documents. The reason for the measure was that in this way the border police would be able to stop those who attempt to flee because replacement documents would be recognized by technology available at border crossings. However, the Interior Ministry has not issued a single replacement document, Sega reports quoting sources from the ministry. This is because the procedure for issuing replacement documents had to be described in the law on personal documents but this has not happened yet. The newspaper adds that the issue of replacement documents is just a part of the big problem related to measures such as "house arrest" or "prohibition to leave the country," imposed by the court.

The Interior Ministry have repeatedly said they do not have enough resources to monitor those placed under house arrest, so virtually anyone could escape. Leaving the country is even easier, because the movement within the EU is free, and it is uncertain whether the border police have information about all those who are subject to such a ban. Another proposed measure was using electronic bracelets. The project was progressing slowly and the measure did not enter into force as these electronic bracelets were not described in the law. After this happened, a public procurement was launched for ensuring the monitoring of 1,040 people within a period of two years.

Last May, however, the procedure was terminated on grounds that there were not enough candidates. The deadline for participation was extended, but just one more offer was received. This was there cannot be a choice between several offers and there will be no new procurement procedure, Sega concludes.

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