Movement for Rights and Freedoms Chairman Ahmed Dogan withdrew from the post of party leader. He announced the news in his report read out at the party’s Eighth National Conference in the National Palace of Culture in the center of Sofia on Saturday. The conference kicked off on Saturday morning and was terminated at about 12:20 p.m. local time when 25-year-old Oktay Enimehmedov put a gas pistol to Ahmed Dogan and tried to fire a shot, while the MRF leader was reading his report. The gun is said to have misfired. The attacker was detained and handed over to the police. Ahmed Dogan escaped any injuries. The conference resumed at about 4:00 p.m. local time and the deputy chairwoman of the party, Feliz Hyusmenova, read out the rest of Dogan’s report, while he and the deputy chairman of the party, Lyutvi Mestan, were sitting on the platform. When Ahmed Dogan returned to the hall, he was welcomed with applause. In his report Ahmed Dogan names Lyutvi Mestan as his successor to the post of MRF leader. Later in the evening Kamen Kostadinov with the party’s leadership told journalists that Lyutvi Mestan was elected the leader of Movement for Rights and Freedoms. There were no other candidates for the post.
The fighters for freedom should have a right to a free choice as to when they should withdraw from the tense arena of struggles for freedom and democracy in order to give an opportunity to others to take the helm, reads the report.
I do so well aware that such a step is necessary in the name of the freedom and development of MRF. The worn-out clichés about the profile of MRF are related with the idea about a party of a leader type – this is true only to the uneducated. MRF is more than that. My role is reduced to the chance of my life to give the first push to the development of MRF. I would like to thank everyone who honored me with this recognition. After the first push MRF and the leader created each other. In this complex symmetry the part of the secret of MRF’s successes lies in the mutual development in the past decades, Dogan says in his report.
Dogan’s reasons for porposing Mestan fro his successor are the following: “Mestan has developed into and gained ground as a parliamentarian inspiring respect, MRF considers him as one of the best forums of the party, has a strong liberal code of MRF as a cause, has a productive visionary sense. He is dialogic with the other parties, but sufficiently tough in his positions. He has rich experience of assessing the situation and making political decisions. Last but not least the party chairperson should be from the town of Kardzhali.”
In his report Dogan says also that he remains devoted to the cause of MRF.
When I got familiar with the charges against the 11 imams, I was shocked. They were charged under the same charges of chapter 1 of the Penal Code as I was under the totalitarian regime, Ahmed Dogan says in his report.
The strangest thing is that the main arguments in the charges were made up on the basis of the assumption that a more different interpretation of the Koran leads to a national security threat. I would like to thank the European liberals for their understanding and support in this case at the liberal forum in Dublin. This is an arbitrary act of the state against the citizens’ rights and freedoms, says the report further.
Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev vehemently condemned any attempts on Bulgarian citizens’ life and health, announced the press service of the President’s Office.
The head of state expresses his certainty the circumstances that led to the attack on Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) leader Ahmed Dogan will be identified quickly. Such an act is intolerable in a democratic state, says the President and calls for a quick investigation on the part of the competent institutions.
The Bulgarian society is traditionally known for its tolerance, mutual acceptance and respect between different ethnic groups and religions. That’s why on behalf of all Bulgarians I express indignation at this intolerable act of violence, highlights Rosen Plevneliev.
In a telephone conversation with Ahmed Dogan the head of state received information about his health condition. The President condemned the attack on the MRF leader and voiced his certainty that the circumstances would be established as soon as possible. The President wished Ahmed Dogan quick recovery from the serious incident and shock.
Following the attack on Ahmed Dogan, Bulgarian political parties released statements as well.
The attack on Movement for Rights and Freedoms leader Ahmed Dogan is an extremely serious incident with hard consequences for both Bulgaria and its political life. The attempt on his life is shocking, the National Council of the Bulgarian Socialist Party says in a statement.
The incident cannot be underestimated. This is an attempt on democracy in Bulgaria and on everyone in Bulgaria, which we categorically condemn and reject.
On behalf of the Bulgarian Socialist Party and the parliamentary group of Coalition for Bulgaria we express our strong concern with the processes in the society and with the possible destabilization of the country.
The parliamentary group of Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria categorically condemns the attack on Movement for Rights and Freedoms Chairman Ahmed Dogan, it says in a statement.
Such actions are absolutely unacceptable and anti-democratic, especially during a political forum. As a democratic party that has taken European values and practice as its priority, Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria does not consider any form of violence to be acceptable, not only against an MP, but also against any Bulgarian citizen. To us the attack ion any politician is a danger to democracy in our country. The parliamentary group of Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria expects all law-enforcement bodies will investigate the incident as quickly as possible, reads the statement.
The Union of Democratic Forces condemns any attempt on the life and personality of each person. Violence – irrespective of its motives and form – is unacceptable and unjustifiable, it says in a statement.
The party expresses concern that such an act can be used to raise ethnic, social and political tension. In such a moment the state with all its institutions should show will, determination and power in order to reveal the whole truth, identify all people responsible for the incident and apply the law, the party says.
Each objective analyst is aware that this is a staging that aims to close the ranks in Movement for Rights and Freedoms and to be the main reason for Ahmed Dogan to remain party leader, Order, Law and Justice says in a statement.
Since the suitable enemy Ataka is no longer an irritating factor, Movement for Rights and Freedoms will use this farce to unite its electorate ahead of the elections. The political arsenal of Movement for Rights and Freedoms is absolutely exhausted. To Order, Law and Justice it is clear that Dogan’s electorate has contracted to the utmost and this botched mini action film will not help him, the party says.
Ataka insists on an inquiry committee into the National Security Guards Service, calls on the service chief to resign and wants the service dissolved. The party will also insist on the adoption of a law regulating the special services, because so far there has not been such a law. After that a new service should be set up, says Ataka.
According to Ataka leader Volen Siderov the incident will unite Movement for Rights and Freedoms.
Late in the evening Sofia District Police Directorate held an extraordinary press conference about the attack.
Signal cartridges were used in the attack on Movement for Rights and Freedoms leader Ahmed Dogan, Sofia District Police Directorate chief Valeri Yordanov said at the press conference.
The weapon was analyzed and according to the results it is technically fit. The three cartridges found were analyzed as well and two of them are signal cartridges, which have only gunpowder. They are used to make a sound. The third cartridge is pepper which is used to protect yourself against animals, said the police chief.
Firing signal cartridges, like the ones used in the attack on Ahmed Dogan, at a distance of less than a meter, can cause an injury, but no lethal wounds, said Valeri Yordanov.
This is stated in all instructions on how to use such cartridges, he added.
When the first pictures were taken and when the weapon was seized, no magazine was visible. In the end it turned out that the plastic part of the magazine was broken and only the metal element, where the cartridges lay, was left. Parts of the plastic section of the magazine and of a spring were found, he said further.
He added that it was up to the prosecutor’s office to decide what charges to press against the 25-year-old attacker.
The police chief reminded of an incident involving Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov – a few months ago a man with a gas pistol ran towards a car of the National Security Guards Service in which the interior minister was and he was charged with hooliganism due to the type of the weapon used.
According to one of the versions is that the attacker of Movement for Rights and Freedoms leader Ahmed Dogan – Oktay Enimehmedov – is an unfulfilled youth, who was seeking attention, including public one, he said further.
So far the detainee has not given explanations why he carried out the attack. Staff with the Institute of Psychology are working with him, he added.
Oktay Enimehmedov’s behavior and the information obtained from conversations with his relatives and friends show that he is a youth seeking fulfillment. To enter the building he used an old badge that looked similar to the ones used for today’s conference. It seems he managed to enter together with the other delegates, added the police chief.
Enimehmedov was a member of the youth Movement for Rights and Freedoms. As to the party’s denial of this information, Valeri Yordanov said the man identified himself as such and supported the party, but might not be officially registered as a member.
“Given this type of weapon, interpreting it as an attempted murder is something of an overstatement,” he said.
According to him it is a very serious issue whether the people who thrashed the attacker will be held liable. These people will be identified and the prosecutor’s office will decide, he said.
My personal opinion is yes, he added.
So far there is no information that the attacker of Ahmed Dogan – Oktay Enimehmedov – wanted to participate in Youth Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), said the Sofia District Police Directorate.
The attacker underwent all medical checkups in the Military Medical Academy. He sustains only grazes and bruises and no fractures, he added.
He is currently in the Institute of Psychology and experts are working with him. They are talking also with relatives and friends of his, he said further.
They did not know where he was going, he said.
He is a fifth year student with the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy. He is a very intelligent and has a high opinion of himself. His motives will be known later. He was staying in Sofia, but has refused to speak, said Valeri Yordanov.
A knife, identity documents and the weapon were found with Oktay Enimehmedov. The crime scene is not very well preserved, since a lot of people participated in the detention, but we hope they will cooperate. They will be questioned who was where, what they heard and saw and I hope we will restore the whole situation, said Yordanov.
The attacker is under 24-hour arrest. I suppose tomorrow the prosecutor’s office will ask for 72-hour arrest, he added.
According to him Movement for Rights and Freedoms did not ask for additional security for the conference in the National Palace of Culture.
They just notified us that the conference would take place and where the guests would stay, he said.