Details on the amendment of Articles 108 and 109 of the Bulgarian Criminal Code [BGR5097]

According a March 1990 report from the Information Centre of the Bulgarian Community, Articles 107 and 108 of the Bulgarian Penal Code had been amended, although their "restrictive strength" remained intact. A 30 November report from Sofia Home Service lists the articles expected to be amended or abolished at a mid-December 1989 sitting of the Bulgarian National Assembly. It states only that Article 108 is to be amended and that nine other articles were to be abolished, most of them in full.("First News Conference by Government Spokesman"; Information Centre of the Bulgarian Community, p. 9)

A 16 December report in The Los Angeles Times states that 11 sections of the Penal Code were to be amended during that session and that the "only remaining prohibitions would apply to speech advocating fascism or the violent overthrow of the government." At the same time, The New York Times reported that the amendments made it "lawful, in most cases, to criticize the state," while The Associated Press reported that prosecutions for "anti-state activity" or "crimes against allied states" were now a thing of the past.("Bulgaria Grants Amnesty"; "Bulgaria Is Eager"; "Bulgaria Declares Amnesty")

A copy of a 7 December 1989 report from the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency is attached with this response. It indicates that several phrases dealing with "fascist behaviour" and other "anti-state" activities, were to be removed from the Penal Code. The IRBDC does not have confirmation at this time regarding the precise changes made to Penal Code articles during the December 1989 session of the National Assembly, but is awaiting such details from an informed source at Helsinki Watch in New York.


"First News Conference by Government Spokesman Filip Bokov," Sofia Home Service (BBC Summary of World Broadcasts), 4 December 1989, p. EE/0630/B/1
Information Centre of the Bulgarian Community, "Additional Information About the Political Reality in Bulgaria," [Montreal], 1 March 1990, p. 9
Teddie Weyr, "Bulgaria Grants Amnesty to Political Prisoners," Associated Press, 15 December 1989
Clyde Haberman, "Bulgaria Is Eager But New to Freedoms," The New York Times, 17 December 1989, p. 3
"Bulgaria Declares Amnesty, Moves Toward Guarantee of Free Speech," The Los Angeles Times, 16 December 1989, p. A12