04 Sep 2020 Lvl. 1
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Alert created on: 04 Sep 2020 n° 101/2020 Bulgaria
Bulgarian Freelance Journalist Dimitar Kenarov Beaten and Detained by Police while Covering Protest
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On the night of 2 September 2020, freelance journalist Dimitar Kenarov was arrested and allegedly kicked in the head by police officers during anti-corruption protests in Sofia, Bulgaria. The incident took place during a culmination of anti-government and anti-corruption protests in Bulgaria which escalated on 2 September. That night Kenarov was in the front line of the protests with other colleagues taking pictures when he was pushed by officers to a nearby wall. Although he had a camera and a PRESS sign clearly visible on his mask, he said he was detained and dragged across the square to the stairs of the new Parliament building. “While reporting on the protests in Sofia today I was grabbed by the police, thrown on the ground and brutally kicked in the head,” he wrote on his Twitter profile, posting a picture with bruises on his face. He wrote on Facebook that during his detention he was ignored by the police, but kicked by at least two uniformed men, mostly in the head and face. In addition to injuries to his head and face, Kenarov’s camera was taken away, broken, and left on the ground while he was handcuffed and detained. During his detention, Kenarov said he showed his journalist card several times and explained to every law enforcement officer he had access to that he was a journalist. One of the officers took his card to show it to his supervisor. However, the card was returned and Kenarov remained in handcuffs. In the early hours of 3 September, he was moved to a police van, where, according to his account, he stayed for almost an hour, as all district police departments were full. Later he was transported to the Fifth Police Department in Sofia, where he was handed a warning report and released. Throughout his detention, Kenarov was not served with a detention order and was denied access to a lawyer.
- CPJ Alert: "Bulgarian riot police beat and pepper spray journalists covering demonstrations"
- Mapping Media Freedom (MMF) alert: "Bulgaria: Journalist Dimitar Kenarov detained and assaulted by police officers while covering Sofia protest"
- Dimitar Kenarov's Twitter post
- Kenarov’s Facebook post
- AEJ statement : "AEJ-Bulgaria Condemns Police Violence Against Bulgarian Journalist"
04 Sep 2020
New "Bulgaria must investigate police violence against journalists" says CoE Commissioner for Human Rights