Bulgarian Politician’s Attacker Evades Assassination Charges

A man who dramatically threatened a top ethnic Turkish politician with a pistol on live television will not be charged with attempted murder.Prosecutors say that Oktay Enimehmedov, who put a tear-gas gun to Ahmed Dogan’s head while he was speaking at a conference in Sofia which was being broadcast live on Bulgarian television, did not technically try to murder the ex-leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS party.

After rushing onto the stage where Dogan was speaking in front of 3,000 people and raising the pistol, 25-year-old ethnic Turk Enimehmedov was immediately grabbed by security and party delegates and disarmed, before being beaten, kicked and punched.

However Sofia’s deputy chief prosecutor Borislav Sarafov said on Monday that the small tear-gas gun used by the attacker could not have killed Dogan.

“With this gun, one cannot kill a person. With these bullets, one can’t kill a person either,” Sarafov said.

Nedelcho Stoychev, director of the psychology institute at the Bulgarian interior ministry, said he believed that the attacker wanted to hurt Dogan “emotionally, not physically”.

“A potential shot from the gun in question would have caused mild skin injuries,” Stoychev said.

Stoychev said that Enimehmedov acted alone and didn’t tell anybody about his planned attack.

“He liked Dogan. He was disappointed by the fact that Dogan is not honest with his own people,” Stoychev said.The DPS however has announced that it will demand an international investigation to find the political mastermind behind the attack, suggesting that the Bulgarian authorities had failed to protect Dogan properly.

Lyutvi Mestan, who was elected as DPS chairman a few hours before the attack, accused the police and security services of not fulfilling their duty to guard a political leader.

Mestan accused interior minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov of turning the case into a purely ethnic one by by highlighting the perpetrator’s Turkish background.

Biserov said he believed that the interior ministry was to blame for the incident because it sent only eight policemen to an event that several thousand people were expected to attend.

Tsvetanov meanwhile alleged on Saturday that the attacker used to have close ties with notorious Sofia drug lord Hristo Shirev.

The authorities also revealed that Enimehmedov has a criminal record for the possession of drugs, theft and assault.

The ethnic Turk from the Black Sea town of Burgas was carrying two knives as well as the gas gun at the time of the assault, officials said.

However some Bulgarians have expressed public sympathy for Enimehmedov.

Several Facebook groups have been launched in his support which have attracted hundreds of members, with comments expressing outrage at his beating by DPS members.

One of the Facebook groups is demanding that the party members are prosecuted for kicking and hitting him.

A Bulgarian lawyer and MP from the conservative Law and Justice party, Emil Vasilev, said he is willing to defend Enimehmedov for free.

“It is obvious that the man cannot expect a fair trial, so I offer to defend him pro bono,” Vasilev said in an open letter on Sunday, also accusing Dogan of having close links to the country’s former communist government.

Saturday’s incident was the most serious attack on a politician in post-communist Bulgaria since former Prime Minister Andrei Lukanov was shot dead near his home in 1996.

Bulgarians are also watching the case closely because Enimehmedov’s brother, Metin, shot to fame in 2007 after winning the reality television show “Dance with Me”.

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