Did a brutal police beating lead to the death of a young man in Stara Zagora?

ODMVR-Stara Zagora. Photo: BTA

Until Iskra.bg received information about a number of unexplained circumstances along arrest and death of a young man from Stara Zagora. Despite the signals that his family has filed with the responsible institutions, there is no development in the case. There is also no information on whether it is being worked on at all or whether attempts are being made to suppress the case.

Around 4:30 p.m. on July 14, during a drug operation, officers from the “Criminal Police” sector in a red “Opel Astra” cross the road of Volkswagen Passat car. The incident took place at the intersection with “Tsar Simeon the Great” and “Knyaz Alexander Battenberg” boulevards in the regional city, in the direction of “City Center”. The 27-year-olds are traveling in the car Mr. Rashev and Ivan Marinov.

Without identifying themselves, Marinov claims, the policemen pull on the clothes the two men in an attempt to get them out of the car. They succeed and take them to the ground, while hitting them in the face and body. They handcuff them and separate them. They move the car, together with Ivan, to the other end of the street so that it does not interfere with traffic. They start to they question where in the vehicle is it hidden “the material” /crystal methamphetamine/. He assists them even after they find the drugs and describe them, “they took me home in my car and he stayed there and I never saw him again”, says Ivan. They take him behind the First Police Station, where they search him, then he is transferred to the Second Police Station and there he spends the evening.

Photos: Google Maps

“When I last saw him one of his eyes was so swollen I’m sure he couldn’t see the road to the right, it was so swollen. They hit him a lot. Even before they took us out of the car – because I was wearing a seat belt and I kept saying that I can’t get out like that, the policemen reached out and hit him on both sides – both mine and his”, remembers Marinov.

The saga continues approx hour and a half. There are several shops nearby, but all the time none of the people working in them dare to help. The people are in advance warned not to go out and take pictures of what they witness, suggests Mr.’s mother – Maria Rasheva.

In custody Mr. is feeling sick. He starts pouring water on his head, falls to the ground, he has a seizure and dies. While this is happening, his mother is at one of her two jobs and has no idea what news she is about to learn.

Mr. Rashev Rashev

When he later went to the Rhineland the policeman on duty greets her with the words that her son was drugged and died as a result of the drugs taken. IN the medical examination however, the coroner wrote that the cause of death was brain edema and rupture of the lungplus cardiovascular and respiratory failure. They are established hemorrhages of the soft tissues, swelling of the left upper eyelid and of the left cheekbone, and a purple color.

Speculation that the man swallowed a large packet of crystals to avoid police detection has been proven unfounded – no drugs were found anywhere in Mr.’s intestines and stomach.

The autopsy report
The autopsy report

What is the cause of death?

“Literally a few days ago, they showed me pictures of how he was all swollen and blue, and they assured me that they didn’t beat him too much, just that his head was slightly swollen. The bruises on his back had appeared after he died. And I personally saw how they imposed it with their fists”
, categorical is Ivan Marinov.

There is one more a contradiction in the facts – at the police, Maria was informed that when “Emergency” brought her son out of custody, he was still alive. However, she hears from the medics in the ambulance: “We got him out of the cell dead”.

“There are cameras in the detention center, you can see what they did, why they did it, I am not claiming anything”adds the mother regarding the discrepancy in the statements. She hired lawyer from Sofia to seek justice for her child. In her words “no lawyer in Stara Zagora wants to deal with this case, absolutely no one!”.

How did the search come about?

Mr. Rashev was convicted and was in prison twice – once for 3 months and once for 6 months. But he is served his punishments and this circumstance, in itself, does not give the police officers the right to talk to detainees, let alone beat them in public, the mother points out.

From Iskra.bg we searched the coronercommitted the autopsy of Mr. Rashev. He declined to comment as the investigation is ongoing. That’s why we contacted a colleague of his, who wished anonymity. We asked him what it could lead to the reasons for the fatal outcome, described in medical death certificate.

Medical death certificate of Mr. Rashev
Medical death certificate of Mr. Rashev

The doctor explained to our media:

“The brain is in a solid cavity, it has nowhere to go. Like, for example, the abdominal and thoracic cavity, when it is kind of filled, roughly speaking in layman’s language, with water, with liquid, they have soft, elastic walls, and they can allow some stretching. While in the cranial cavity this does not happen. Then the cerebrum presses the cerebellum down against the single opening. That is, where the oblong and now the spinal cord exits down, the large occipital foramen.

The cerebellum, in turn, presses on the brainstem, in which the centers of respiration and blood circulation are located. In this way, it progressively speeds up and then stops the breathing, and then the heart activity.

In order to clarify the immediate cause that led to the fatal outcome, further investigations should be carried out. Including toxicological, histological, etc. The medical examiner should have taken material for all the necessary ones. It doesn’t matter that the corpse is buried.’

Mr. Rashev was not a saint, and these lines are not intended to make him one. The law decides who is guilty and what punishment should he bear. However, in the law physical violence is punishable. When this violence leads to death, can we talk about murder?

First District Office in Stara Zagora
First District Office in Stara Zagora. Photo: Google Maps

“The huge problem here is that when this self-mutilation of police officers becomes a practice, and even an example of behavior, and goes unpunished, it actually deprives Bulgarian citizens of the opportunity for a fair trial”said to Iskra.bgAdv. Detelina Kostadinovarepresenting the family of the deceased Mr. Rashev.

In her words “The interesting thing is that absolutely nothing is commented on what happened, it is not even reflected in the daily bulletins of ODMVR-Stara Zagora. If Mr. Rashev did not have narcotics in him, then why are they detaining him? If they detained a person with narcotic substances, then at least they should mark with initials who this person is. However, this case does not exist for Stara Zagora. Why cover up? There is a real danger that the case will be suppressed at the local level.”

Precisely because of such concerns on July 20 the lawyer enters signals from Maria Rasheva to the chief prosecutor Ivan Geshev. The requests from the mother are pre-trial proceedings be carried out in another area to avoid any danger from interference in the performance of procedural and investigative actions. The reason is that “it concerns a case in which a police officer is involved and the way in which the evidence is collected can be influenced, insofar as there is a collegial relationship and ties between the authorities of the pre-trial proceedings in our judicial district”.

Maria wishes to be carried out and emergency exhumation “on the body of my son Mr. Rashev Rashev, while an independent examination-autopsy can still be performed, because I have reasons to doubt the credibility of the conclusion drawn up by the doctors appointed by the pre-trial proceedings in Stara Zagora”.

The Attorney General is silent. There is no answer.

Ivan Geshev
Ivan Geshev. Photo: Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Bulgaria

There was no response to requests for immediate information who are the officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs who participated during the detention of Mr. Rashev, and whether some of them really beat him.

According to the information we have, recordings from the cameras used by the commercial establishments in the area of ​​the scene viz currency exchange, air conditioner shop, grocery store, shop for tourist and alpine equipment, “International Youth Center”as well as from the traffic cameras from the intersection, on “Alexander Battenberg” Blvd. and “Tsar Simeon the Great” Blvd.

Footage from the cameras in the First Police Station were also not seized, according to the data we have to establish what Mr. Rashev’s actions and condition were, immediately before his death, as well as the behavior of the persons who detained him.

On July 25 Adv. Kostadinova also appealed to the director of Internal Security Directoratewho answers in one sentence that the reports were sent to the District Prosecutor’s Office-Stara Zagora, which is actually investigating the case.

Courthouse in Stara Zagora
Photo: Screenshot from Google Maps

Why are the institutions not doing anything? What is she the objective truth? Does it actually happen? an investigation, to get to it or just imitate one? Is it intentional inaction of Ivan Geshev and his colleagues in order to cover up a crime?

A month and a half after the brutal beating on July 14, no one has been brought to justice about the death of the 27-year-old man. For his parents, there remains the emptiness and the difficult struggle for fair justice. The officers who made the arrest will go home tonight to their families and sleep peacefully under the cap of the law. And is he equal for all?

From Iskra.bg we remain available for all concerned parties to express their point of view!

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The article is in bulgaria

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