Accessibility links

Breaking News

Bulgarian Presidential Candidate Accused Of Attack On LGBT Center Loses Immunity

Boyan Rasate
Boyan Rasate

SOFIA -- Bulgarian Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev has demanded the immunity from prosecution be lifted for a right-wing nationalist candidate in this month's presidential election who is accused of leading a weekend attack on an LGBT community center in the capital.

Enough evidence was collected to charge Boyan Rasate with "acts that grossly violate public order," Geshev's office said on November 1, a crime that carries a prison sentence of up to five years.

Hours later, the Central Election Commission decided to lift Rasate's immunity and allow him to be indicted, the BTA news agency reported.

As a candidate in the November 14 presidential vote, Rasate enjoyed immunity from prosecution.

On October 30, a group of about 10 men and women stormed and vandalized the Rainbow Hub, a venue for LGBT-related events in central Sofia. The Bilitis Foundation that runs the center accused Rasate of leading the attack.

Activist Gloria Filipova claimed she was punched in the face by Rasate, whom she recognized. She also said he was carrying a knife.

Born Boyan Stankov in 1971, Rasate is the founder of the Bulgarian National Union (BNS), which is no longer under his leadership. He is known for his rhetoric against the LGBT community and migrants.

Speaking to Nova TV, he declined to say whether he was among the attackers, but he said the Rainbow Hub should have expected such an assault.

The attack was condemned by several Bulgarian political parties.

In a joint statement on November 1, the embassies of 11 countries strongly condemned what they called the "senseless" attack.

The ambassadors of the countries, including United States, Australia, Canada, and eight Western European states, also visited the center to express their "solidarity."

  • 16x9 Image

    RFE/RL's Bulgarian Service

    RFE/RL’s Bulgarian Service relaunched in 2019 after a 15-year absence, providing independent news and original analysis to help strengthen a media landscape weakened by the monopolization of ownership and corruption.