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Bulgaria: Prosecution Clears Former Minister Of Ordering Violence

Sofia, 2 May 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Bulgaria's military prosecution today announced that Socialist former Interior Minister Nikolai Dobrev did not issue illegal orders to use violence against a populist seige of parliament in January. Dobrev has repeatedly denied issuing such orders.

The military prosecutor also cleared former Interior Ministry Secretary Georgi Lambov and former Sofia police chief Krassimir Petrov of criminal wrong-doing.

About 300 demonstrators were hospitalized in the early morning hours of January 11 when police and special forces broke up thousands of protesters who had surrounded Sofia's then Socialist-dominated parliament. Parliamentarians were trapped in the building for hours after some angry demonstrators attempted to storm their way inside.

The military prosecution today said that cases of excessive police violence were the result of individual officers' behavior, and not a strategy organized by the Interior Ministry.