Afghan refugee shot dead by Bulgarian police near border with Turkey

October 17, 2015 | By | Reply More

Oct 17, – A man from Afghanistan has been shot dead by police in Bulgaria in front of his fellow refugees. Bulgaria’s interior ministry said he was with a large group of “offenders” who had crossed the border from Turkey as they journeyed on the Balkans route towards western Europe.

hromedia Afghan refugee shot dead by Bulgarian police near border with Turkey intl. news3“Our border patrol of border guards and police in the area had stumbled on 50 offenders, who illegally entered the country,” Georgi Kostov, the ministry’s chief secretary, told national radio.

“They put up resistance during the arrest. One of the officers fired warning shots and, in his words, one of the migrants was wounded by a ricochet and later died.”

He said the rest of the Afghan asylum seekers, aged between 20 and 30, and were not injured and had been detained around 18 miles from the Bulgarian-Turkish border.

Local media reported that the shooting happened beneath a bridge on the motorway from Burgas to Sredets at around 10pm local time on Thursday night.

Kalina Chapkanova, the public prosecutor for Burgas region, was quoted as saying that all the refugees were unarmed young men but that the “balance of power” was with them rather than the three Interior Ministry employees.

Prosecutors are investigating the death – the first fatal shooting since refugees started flowing through Bulgaria two years ago.

The Prime Minister, Boiko Borisov, left a European Union summit on the refugee crisis in Brussels to return home after hearing of the incident.

The UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) condemned the use of force and appealed to Bulgaria not to treat refugees like criminals.

“We, at UNHCR, are deeply shocked by this incident,” said spokesperson Boris Cheshirkov.

“We deplore the death of an Afghan asylum seeker, trying to reach safety across the border. We call on the Bulgarian authorities to conduct an immediate, transparent and independent investigation. Seeking asylum is an universal human right and not a crime.”

The Black Sea state, which is a member of the EU but not of the border-free Schengen Area, has deployed more border police, installed cameras and motion sensors, and is extending a security fence to cover 100 miles of its border with Turkey.

At least 11,000 asylum seekers have entered Bulgaria since January and the number is expected to reach 15,000 by the end of the year. Most are fleeing Syria and use Bulgaria as a transit route to wealthier countries such as Germany and Sweden.

Press journalist for Human Rights Observers media – Norberto Lluch reports.

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Category: International

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