Editor who exposed racism faces extradition from UK
By Grattan Puxon
Editor of internet news forum DeFacto, Toma Nikolaev Mladenov, who has exposed gross anti-Roma racism in Bulgaria, this week faces possible extradition from the UK. It appears prosecutors want to get him back behind bars to keep him quiet.
He will make his fourth appearance at Westminster Magistrates Court on Thursday (25 Oct) to hear what District Court Judge John Zani has decided on defence motions that his original sentence of one year was disproportionate and a prosecution appeal trial broke double jeopardy law.
Defence counsel Mark Summers says if unfavourable his client is almost certain to appeal to the high court. At this juncture, Nikolaev could give up bail and opt to be held in custody in the hope of being allowed to serve out his term in Britain.
DEMONSTRATION of SUPPORT
Westminster Magistrates Court
"I fear being returned to Bulgaria," said Nikolaev. "Conditions are bad and I could face re-arrest after release as certain policemen have threatened to come after me. Many activists are already in prison."
His DeFacto weekly newspaper first appeared on the streets of Sofia nearly ten years ago. An early report concerned the arrest of human rights activist Boris Naydenov-Maki and the susbsequent occupation of Vidin district court by 200 Roma demanding his release.
The newspaper offices were subsequently trashed and Nikolaev assaulted in the street outside. He was also the target of a bomb placed near his appartment. Police later claimed the bomb was a fake.
Lately, the internet version has featured the bomb attack on Euroma Party headquarters in the town of Sandanski, which killed a party candidate.
Nikolaev was arrested on a European Warrant after fleeing Bulgaria with his family. He was previously unsuccessful in seeking asylum in Britain, where he has since built up a small business for recycling cooking oil.
His one ambition is to re-launch DeFacto as a bi-lingual newagency in Bulgaria to help revive the civil society movement for proper political representation by the country's 700,000 Roma. Friends in Sofia are ready to register and run a website there, if funding can be found.
Anyone interested in this project can contact Nikolaev through the 8 April Movement at firstname.lastname@example.org
22 October 2012