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20.01.2016

Bulgarian beaten up  - ECPMF calls for inquiry

By Jane Whyatt. Research by Vesselin Dimitrov

Nursing his injuries in hospital after being beaten with baseball bats by two men, local government reporter Stoyan Tonchev has posted defiant messages on Facebook. Photos taken in hospital of his battered face accompany the posts.

He says he will post a photo every day until the perpeterators are caught.

The post says:

All Bulgaria knows why I look this way ... it’s an inferno"

Stoyan Tonchev Stoyan Tonchev via Facebook

Tonchev is the editor of a local news website in Pomorie, on the coast of Bulgaria, also works as a PR for a local hospital and actually ran to become a member of the local parliament himself in the 2015 elections. His attackers reportedly asked during the beating:

How long will you continue to write?"

The journalist remains in hospital with head injuries.

ECPMF Supervisory Board Member Vesselin Dimitrov, based in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, is following the case, and demanding a full inquiry. Dimitrov says:

Stoyan Tonchev's website is a brave platform uncovering the questionable operations of the municipality in Pomorie. His brutal beating is an act that exemplifies the stagnation of Bulgaria's progress towards a free democratic society. We hope to see Stoyan continuing his work after his full recovery. The authorities should continue to investigate this brutal act and find the people who ordered it. Because here it is important to get not only the perpetrators but those responsible  and the reasons for this attack."

Representative on Freedom of the Media fort he Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Dunja Mijatović has condemned the violent beating

I urge the authorities to thoroughly investigate the attack and bring the perpetrators to justice. There must be no impunity for attacks against journalists."

Two people have been taken into custody and questioned about the assault but later released.



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