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Bulgaria Closes Probe Into Communist-Era 'Umbrella' Murder


Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian dissident who was killed in London in September 1978, is shown in this undated photo. (file photo)

Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian dissident who was killed in London in September 1978, is shown in this undated photo. (file photo)

Bulgaria is closing its investigation into one of the most notorious political assassinations of the Cold War.

Georgi Markov, a prominent writer and journalist, fled Bulgaria in 1969 but continued to denounce the country's then-communist regime in reports for the BBC and Radio Free Europe.

On September 7, 1978, he was injected with a ricin-poisoned pellet by a passerby carrying an umbrella in London. He died four days later.

Prosecutors have failed to identify, charge, or arrest anybody for the crime.

A spokeswoman for the Bulgarian prosecutor's office said the investigation was to be closed on September 11, when the 35-year statute of limitations for prosecuting such crimes expires.

A journalistic investigation into communist-era secret-police files has identified Markov's suspected killer as a secret-police agent and revealed close links between the Bulgarian secret police and the Soviet KGB over the murder.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and Novinite.com
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