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Supreme Cassation Court Asks Judicial Council to
Punish Appellate Specialized Court for
Mishandling High-profile Case
Sofia, February 11 (BTA) - Supreme Cassation Court President Lozan Panov has asked the judges' college of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) to punish the President of the Appellate Specialized Court, Georgi Oushev, for the way he had handled the high-profile corruption case of a former Sofia borough mayor and her deputy, Panov's court said in a press release Monday.
The ex-mayor of Mladost borough, Dessislava Ivancheva, and her deputy Bilyana Petrova were arrested in the spring of 2018 in a controversial law-enforcement operation which many saw as humiliating. The first-instance Specialized Criminal Court twice released them from custody and into house arrest due to their deteriorating health, but the second-instance Appellate Specialized Court later reversed the release. On the second occasion, the appellate decision came on the very day the two were released - and they had to go right back into remand. The two were finally released from custody and put under house arrest days before Christmas last year.
Panov ordered a probe by his Supreme Cassation Court (SCC) to see how the Appellate Specialized Court had handled the case. Panov saw in the report from the probe information about two disciplinary violations by Appellate Specialized Court President Georgi Oushev. One is that he gave oral orders to a judge from a lower court (the Specialized Court) to process with priority a prosecutorial appeal of the release of the mayor and the deputy mayor, thus violating the principle of non-interference in the work of lower-court judges. The second disciplinary violation has to do with procedural errors in opening the appeal case against the release from custody of the mayor and her deputy. LN/LY