The Supreme Court of Cassation reduced to seven years imprisonment the sentences of the five former police officers accused of the death of Angel Dimitrov-Chorata, who had been arrested during a Respect action in 2005. Penalties were imposed on Miroslav Pisov, Georgi Kalinkov, Yanko Grahovski, Ivo Ivanov and Boris Mehandjiiski.
Here's what the magistrates' decision announced on Tuesday says:
By Decision № 284 / 19.04.2019 in criminal case No. 1140/2018 a three-member panel of the Supreme Court of Cassation (SCC) repealed in its entirety Resolution No. 4 / 06.07.2018, on the so-called " . No 026/2016 of the Military Court of Appeal. Changes first instance conviction by n.o. No 033 / 02.10.2008 of the Sofia Military Court as: justifies the defendants Miroslav Pisov, Ivo Ivanov, Boris Mehandzhiyski, Yanko Grahovski and Georgi Kalinkov under the qualifying sign of Art. 116, para. 1, item 6, item 3 of the Criminal Code – the killing has been committed with extreme cruelty. Reduces the Penalty Penalty from 18 to 7 years of "imprisonment". It reduces the punishment imposed by the defendants Ivo Ivanov, Boris Mehandzhiyski, Yanko Grahovski and Georgi Kalinkov on a 16-year prison sentence of seven years' imprisonment. Confirms the first instance verdict in the rest. The decision is not subject to appeal.
The SCC received a notification from the prosecutor of the action taken to execute the punishment.
The case in the Supreme Court of Cassation was initiated on a cassation protest and on the appeals of the defendants, the civil claimants and private prosecutors, as well as the civil defendant ODMWR – Blagoevgrad, against an appeals decision of 06.07.2018 on the s.c. No 026/2016 of the Military Court of Appeal.
By conviction from 02.10.2008, under the n. No 33/2008 of the Military Court – Sofia, the defendants have been found guilty of a crime under Art. 116, para. 1, item 2 and item 6 of art. 20, para. 2 of the Penal Code (murder committed by police officers and with extreme cruelty), with penalties imposed on them – to Mr Miroslav Pisov 18 "imprisonment", and to the other defendants for each 16-year "deprivation of freedom. " By verdict the defendants and the civil defendant were jointly and severally ordered to pay the civil claimants compensation for their non-pecuniary damage.
By the appeal decision, the defendants were found guilty of the fact that, as perpetrators and police officers in the performance of their service, they have independently caused death by negligence – an offense under Art. 122, para. 1 pt. 2, para. 2 vp. 1 of the Penal Code, for each of them separately the criminal prosecution is terminated due to expired absolute limitation. By the decision, the five defendants were recognized as innocent and justified in their initially accused under Art. 116, para. 1, item 2 and item 6 of art. 20, para. 2 of the Criminal Code. The Military Court of Appeal amended the first-instance verdict in its civil warrant and confirmed it in its remainder.
The SCC's decision states that the case was returned twice by the cassation instance of the Appeal Court of Appeal, which has delivered three judgments, the latter of which is the subject of this cassation review. In so doing, it is necessary to conclude that the prerequisites of Art. 354, para. 5, ex. 2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, and it is unacceptable for the current cassation panel to return the case for reconsideration, regardless of its findings of defects or lack thereof in the activity of the controlled court. Parallel to this, in this case, the law requires the court of cassation to settle the case definitively by considering it in substance.
The three-member panel of the SCC, after analyzing the evidence gathered in the case, and taking into account that the appellate court expressed its ambiguous and ambiguous conclusions on the facts and therefore can not be surely inferred the facts it had accepted, of the excusable powers exercised, that it should indicate the facts adopted by the Court of First Instance on the basis of which it would exercise its supervisory powers.
According to the facts, the SCC's decision concluded that the contact of the defendants with the victim was not discontinued when he was detained, despite his shouts most of the time that he suffocated, they did not stop the violence over him, but continued with the blows even and when he stopped crying. The act of the defendants was expressed in the joint striking of the body and the head of the victim while his fetus was pressed so that he could not develop his breathing ability as a result of which he suffocated and died. Thus the result – the death of Angel Dimitrov – is the consequence of the simultaneous joint activity of the five defendants.
The conclusion of the supreme judges is that the aggregate analysis of the collected evidence allows to unequivocally deduce the mechanism of causing the victim's death – the striking of Angel Dimitrov by the five defendants before handcuffing, the continuation of the strikes after their placement, placing the victim on his abdomen with handcuffs on the back of his hands, pushing his body and simultaneously striking his body – actions carried out by all defendants that led to a hindrance his ability to move as well as to carry out a normal breathing process.
In terms of legal qualifications, the SCC found that the accusations made by the defendants, albeit considerable in number, caused traumatic injuries that were mild in medical and biological terms. Thus, objectively, they are not sufficient to conclude that the defendants have exhibited excessive rage, sadism and cruelty during their performance. Another is the fact that the personal data and the professional data contained in the case contain no information to reveal them as aggressive, sadistic and ruthless personalities. Therefore, the SCC panel considered that the defendants should be justified by the qualifying feature of the defendants having committed the killing with "special cruelty" within the meaning of Art. 116, para. 1, item 6, item 3 of the Criminal Code.
Supreme judges indicate that when determining the punishment that should be imposed on the defendants so as to be fair and appropriate to the crime and to achieve the objectives of Art. 36 of the Criminal Code, first of all, it should be taken into account that the defendants should be justified in one of the qualifying circumstances – namely in that the murder was committed with "special cruelty" and secondly, the question of the duration of criminal proceedings. Undoubtedly, resolving this issue has a direct effect on the justice of the punishment. The term of the present criminal proceedings is over 13 years old and he should be unambiguously defined as "unreasonable" regardless of the procedural failures accompanying the entire proceedings. The delay is entirely due to the behavior of the competent authorities, without the persons accused of having contributed to it in any way with their behavior. This circumstance, according to the practice of the ECtHR on the application of Art. Article 6 § 1 of the ECHR implies the need to apply an effective compensation mechanism to remedy an offense, such as the possibility of reducing the sentenced person's sentence.
Taking into account the specific nature of the crime committed and the mitigating and aggravating circumstances of each of the defendants, the SCC finds that the penalties are fair as follows – for all defendants – Pisov, Ivanov, Grahovski, Mehandzhijski and Kalinkov – 7th "deprivation of freedom "in which the first-instance court is subject to change, the final decision says.